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Sea Shepherd Crew Remain On Guard Behind the Nisshin Maru

Sea Shepherd Operation Musashi
Update from the Ross Sea

February 7th, 2009
0700 Hours (Sydney Time)
1200 Hours (PST) (February 5th)
75 Degrees 57 Minutes South and 164 Degrees 53 Minutes West

Despite repeated assaults by frustrated and increasingly violent Japanese whalers, the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin continues to stand guard behind the Japanese floating abattoir called the Nisshin Maru. The three Japanese harpoon boats are not in the area but the Sea Shepherd crew is prepared to obstruct them should they return.

The Japanese have been accusing Sea Shepherd of trying to obstruct their props with ropes yet the whalers have been trying to do the same thing to the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin. They are accusing the Sea Shepherd crew of throwing rotten butter (which the Japanese refer to as "acid") at them yet the whalers are throwing golf balls and chunks of metal at the Steve Irwin crew.  In addition, the Japanese are blasting the Sea Shepherd crew with water cannons and Long Range Acoustical weapons - a sonic gun that causes disorientation, nausea and deafness.

"I find it interesting that so called experts and politicians are quick to condemn Sea Shepherd's tactics for upholding conservation law yet say not a word about the escalating physical violence directed at us by the whalers who are breaking the law," said Captain Paul Watson. "Their position of siding with the poachers seems to be that if we did not put ourselves in this situation we would not be experiencing such violence. The same could be said for any policeman and Sea Shepherd is not down here to protest whaling, we are down here to obstruct illegal whaling as defined under international conservation law. We are down here to enforce the law, not to break it."

There is a legal precedent for Sea Shepherd's intervention and that is the United Nation World Charter for Nature that allows for non-governmental organizations to uphold international conservation law and in Section 21(e) specifically in areas beyond national jurisdictions.

The Japanese whale poachers have the advantage of superior ships, faster, more powerful ships, they have weapons and they have the support of their government that will defend whatever actions they take including the killing of our crew if that should occur.

On February 6th, two incidents occurred where the Steve Irwin collided with harpoon vessels as they forced their way past the Steve Irwin's blockade in their pursuit of their poaching activities. These collisions were not intentional on the part of Sea Shepherd.

"Earlier we filmed a whale being illegally killed and we watched as that whale endured an agonizing death, thrashing about in its own blood for twenty-five minutes," said Captain Watson. "We view the killing of that whale as cold blooded murder and we are committed to doing everything we can, short of inflicting injuries ourselves, to protect these defenceless, gentle, intelligent and socially complex sentient beings."

The harpoon boats have not returned to the Nisshin Maru since the last incident occurred at 1800 Hours on February 6th.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has made it clear to the government of Australia that our interventions which are becoming increasingly more dangerous because of Japanese aggression can be avoided by Peter Garrett and Kevin Rudd simply making good on their pre-election promise to take the Japanese whalers to court.

"Because Garrett and Rudd have reneged on their promises to us, the people of Australia, we have been forced to defend these whales as Australian citizens in these hostile and remote waters simply because someone has to," said Andrew Perry of Hobart, Tasmania.

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