Sea Shepherd Invites Concerned Nations to Witness Activities in Southern Ocean

The Yushin Maru performing "scientific research"The Yushin Maru performing "scientific research"
Photo: Australian Customs
In response to recent reports stating concern by Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United States over potential conflicts in the Southern Ocean between Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Japan’s whaling fleet, Sea Shepherd would like to invite Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United States to send a representative to join the Sea Shepherd ships at sea to witness first-hand the “incidents” about which they have concern.

This invitation echoes the call on Monday documented in news reports by Australia’s Environment spokesman Greg Hunt stating he wrote to Prime Minister Julia Gillard proposing that Australia send a Customs vessel to monitor the impending face-off in the Southern Ocean. Citing a resolution passed by the International Maritime Organization in 2010 compelling whaling vessels to ensure the safety of protesters during demonstrations, rallies or confrontations on the high seas, reports state that Australia has “warned Japanese whaling vessels it won't tolerate protesters being threatened.”

Australia states it remains “resolutely opposed” to commercial whaling, including so-called "scientific" whaling, and has expressed concern about hunting activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Sea Shepherd wishes to thank Australia for its support. Until now warnings by the nations noted herein have been directed primarily at Sea Shepherd, while simple facts in the case have being ignored, specifically:

  1. The Japanese whaling fleet is in contempt of the Australian Federal Court that ordered them to not kill whales in the waters of the Australian Antarctic Territory.
  2. The whales are being slaughtered in an internationally established whale sanctuary.
  3. The definition of a “sanctuary” is: noun: a consecrated place where sacred objects are kept or noun:  a shelter from danger or hardship. This fact is not being considered by the nations concerned.
  4. The Japanese destroyed a Sea Shepherd vessel, the New Zealand-registered Ady Gil, and refused to cooperate with New Zealand investigating authorities. They injured an Animal Planet cameraman and almost killed six crewmembers without any legal or civil consequences whatsoever.
  5. A Japanese harpoon vessel deliberately rammed the Sea Shepherd vessel, the Bob Barker, causing excessive damage.
  6. A Japanese whaling vessel deliberately collided with the Sea Shepherd vessel, the Robert Hunter (renamed the Steve Irwin).
  7. Sea Shepherd crew have been injured by water cannons and bamboo spears.
  8. Captain Paul Watson was shot during an incident between the Steve Irwin and the Nisshin Maru.
  9. Not a single documented injury has been caused to any of the Japanese crew by the Sea Shepherd crew.
  10. Sea Shepherd has a policy of non-violence and has never caused an injury to a person in the entire 35-year history of the organization.
  11. Sea Shepherd has a policy of working within the law and has not had a criminal or civil conviction in the entire 35-year history of the organization.

The only reason Sea Shepherd is intervening is because the Japanese whaling fleet is killing protected and endangered species in an internationally established whale sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling. Sea Shepherd is simply trying to uphold international conservation law where diplomacy has failed and where there has been a failure of enforcement by the signatory nations of the International Whaling Commission.

Sea Shepherd invites Australia to send a ship to monitor the situation and to keep the peace. Similarly, if New Zealand, the Netherlands or the U.S. are truly concerned about safety at sea, they should send a representative onboard the Sea Shepherd ships and the Japanese vessels to observe the situation for themselves.

The SSS Bob Barker in the Southern OceanThe SSS Bob Barker in the Southern Ocean
Photo: Billy Danger / Sea Shepherd

Sea Shepherd Australia wishes to make it clear that Sea Shepherd does not wish nor intends to do anything illegal or violent. We never have and we never intend to.

The governments of the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands claim to oppose whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary — a sanctuary they themselves voted into existence — but none of these governments is actively protecting the sanctuary. Australia is taking Japan to court but most likely Japan will ignore any ruling from the international court just as they have ignored the Australian ruling. Where is the enforcement of the integrity of this internationally designated sanctuary? Where are the sanctions against Japan for blatantly ignoring international conservation law?

“The least these governments can do is to observe the situation first-hand to get an objective understanding of the situation instead of simply condemning Sea Shepherd and ignoring the violence and the crimes of the Japanese whaling fleet,” said Sea Shepherd founder and President Captain Paul Watson.

For further information:

SBS World News - Customs must monitor whaling

The Courier-Mail - Customs vessel must monitor hunt

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