Tsunami-fund "Government of Japan" in Antactica, armed men with masks: target & victim? Steve Irwin be rammed like Ady Gil?
*UPDATE 03/16/2012* "Whaling fleet kill quota: 1,035; Actual whales killed 266 Minkes, 1 Fin (Endangered); 768 Whales SAVED Swimming Free in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary...*
Shonan Maru 2's new version: "Government of Japan". Q: does it represent Japanese government? Or has Japanese government relocated onboard to exercise its power? Life in peril: $29mil Tsunami-fund armed coastguards vs 23 nations' volunteers
Commercial whaling has been banned by the IWC since 1986. The S. Ocean Whale Sanctuary has been established since 1994. Whaling is illegal in Australia and ships involved in the hunt are banned from entering Australian ports. Sea Shepherd, which is attempting to shake off the Japanese Shonan Maru No. 2's pursuit, recalled that last year the Chilean navy had prepared to intercept the whaling factory ship, Nisshin Maru, when it approached the Chilean Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). "We make sure we don't injure anybody but we're up against an opposition that has no hesitation in killing us." Captain Paul Watson, "Japan is really rubbing Australia's nose in it, letting them know that they can do whatever they like," "we have the images of the Japanese whalers destroying one of our ships, ramming our ships, running over our crew, firing upon us, throwing concussion grenades, deploying acoustical weapons, hitting us with water cannons and bamboo spears..."
*Update Jan. 17, 2012*
The Japanese whalers have escalated their aggression by throwing iron grappling hooks at Sea Shepherd boats. Two Steve Irwin crew were struck in the shoulder with iron grappling hooks and one crewmember was struck twice in the face with a long bamboo pole.
Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt said he had written to the government twice in the past fortnight warning of incidents such as the one that occurred last night.
“This was not just foreseen, it has been forewarned in writing twice now,” Mr Hunt told The Australian Online. “(The government) have turned a blind eye to the inevitable risk to life and property at sea from the activities of whalers and protesters. He said Labor should have sent a Customs vessel out to sea with the Sea Shepherd ships. “Had they had a Customs vessel in the area they could have taken action immediately,” Mr Hunt said. “It's just another case of glorious inaction by this Labor government.”
A ship carrying men who are dressed in black are shadowing two anti-whaling vessels into West Australian waters
Paul Watson's ship the Steve Irwin is guiding the crippled Brigitte Bardot - another Sea Shepherd vessel - into the WA port of Fremantle where it will be repaired. But hot on their heels is the Japanese vessel Shonan Maru No. 2, which this morning was still tailing both ships. Captain Watson told The Daily Telegraph Online there were men on the Japanese ship dressed in black. "They're armed, they've got all sorts of devices on board," he said.
"It's very difficult for us," Capt Watson said. "We make sure we don't injure anybody but we're up against an opposition that has no hesitation in killing us. But there's only so far they can go without getting a backlash."
Sea Shepherd says its ship the Bob Barker came across a Japanese harpoon vessel, the Yushin Maru 3, on Wednesday morning while looking for the factory ship Nisshin Maru. The Bob Barker encountered the boat at around 4am (AEDT) in French waters 370km north of the Dumont d'Urville Antarctic base but Sea Shepherd says it was not whaling at the time. The conservation group says the Yushin Maru 3 has since left the French exclusive economic zone and is tailing the Bob Barker in Australian Antarctic waters. "Sea Shepherd can confirm that the Japanese whaling fleet is now in Australian Antarctic Territorial waters," a statement on the group's website read.
04 Jan, 2012 07:20 AM - Japanese whalers' security ship enters Australian waters
A controversial Japanese whaling security ship is said to have steamed deep inside the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone tailing Sea Shepherd ships today, in a challenge to federal authorities. The Shonan Maru No.2, now painted white with "Government of Japan" written on its side, is the ship that sliced the whale defense vessel Ady Gil in half two years ago, and is now carrying a heavily protected paramilitary squad. This morning, 04 Jan, 2012 07:20am, the ship was 50 nautical miles inside the EEZ off Western Australia, the Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson told Fairfax Media. Mr Watson said the ship was continuing to tail the Sea Shepherd vessels Brigitte Bardot, which is returning to Fremantle for urgent repairs, and its escort, the Steve Irwin. The Shonan Maru No.2 swooped on the Steve Irwin on Christmas Day and has been tailing it ever since, enabling the Japanese whaling fleet to steer clear. It is expected to try to keep its hold on the Steve Irwin when the Sea Shepherd flagship heads south again shortly.
"This ship refused to co-operate with Australian and New Zealand authorities after destroying the Ady Gil," Mr Watson said. "It would seem to me that they would be wanted for contempt if nothing else."
Whaling is illegal in Australia and ships involved in the hunt are banned from entering Australian ports. This represents the closest approach to Australia by a ship connected with the Japanese fleet since an injured crewman was brought to waters off Tasmania and taken on to a police boat for transfer to hospital in Hobart in 2006.
Mr Watson said the Japanese ship had switched on an automatic ship identification signal when it entered the EEZ on January 3, meaning that Australian authorities would be aware of its presence. "They either have permission to enter Australian waters or they are arrogantly saying they will do so anyway," he said. Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research does not comment on the movements of its vessels.
January 5, 2012 - Federal action urged over whalers' incursion
The incursion of a security ship with the Japanese whaling fleet deep into Australian waters has drawn renewed calls for federal government intervention in the conflict. The controversial Shonan Maru No. 2 was last night steaming off the Western Australian coast, shadowing the Sea Shepherd ships Steve Irwin, and the increasingly damaged Bridget Bardot.
''These actions further highlight the responsibility Australia has to dispatch a vessel to the region to have a so-called cop on the beat.'' ANU professor of international law, Don Rothwell, said the government could see value in deploying the patrol ship Ocean Protector. Professor Rothwell said it would assist not only to watch over the whalers and Sea Shepherd, but also to demonstrate the federal government's commitment to the safety of life at sea.
Sea Shepherd, which is attempting to shake off the Shonan Maru No. 2's pursuit, recalled that last year the Chilean navy had prepared to interdict the whaling factory ship, Nisshin Maru, when it approached the Chilean Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). ''Japan is really rubbing Australia's nose in it, letting them know that they can do whatever they like,'' said the group's leader, Paul Watson.
Meanwhile, in the Antarctic, Sea Shepherd's vessel Bob Barker picked up the whaling fleet due south of Hobart and was said to be closing in on the factory ship Nisshin Maru. The whalers were steaming east inside a whale sanctuary declared off the Australian Antarctic Territory.
Mr Watson said the speed of the passage meant it was unlikely the fleet had begun whaling, but the Bob Barker was being tailed by the Japanese harpoon ship Yushin Maru No. 3. No statement came from Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research.
[Monday, May 09, 2011] Australia lodges complaint against Japan whaling in ICJ - the International Court of Justice: Australia brought a complaint against Japan in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday for its whaling practices in the Antarctic. Australia initiated proceedings in May 2010, and oral arguments are scheduled to begin in May 2012. Australia contends that Japan is in violation of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling by not meeting its "good faith" obligation to halt the commercial killing of whales. Japan has defended the practice as scientific research because they collect data on the whale's age, diet and birthing rate, before packaging and selling the meat. Commercial whaling has been banned by the International Whaling Commission since 1986.
Japanese plans to hunt humpback whales in Antarctica could ruin Australia's $300 million-a-year whale-watching industry, says a former whaling captain.
[16 February 2010] Ocean crying for Justice: victims of slaughter. Mother & calf are killed so is Whale defender Ady Gil (Earthrace)
Pete Bethune, captain of the ill-fated Ady Gil has told of his crew's "murderous" brush with death in the Antarctic when their high-speed pursuit vessel was sliced open by a Japanese whaler.
As New Zealand maritime authorities waited in Fremantle to interview the survivors on Thursday, Kiwi Pete Bethune accused the crew of Shonan Maru 2 of "attempted murder" by "deliberately ramming" their boat into his space-age carbon-fibre vessel on January 6. The Japanese deny they were at fault, saying the Ady Gil turned deliberately in front of them. "I've had a few nightmares - I think all the crew think about it every night," Captain Bethune told reporters on arrival in Fremantle aboard the Steve Irwin, the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd's vessel, early on Thursday.
The ship will be in port only 48 hours to refuel, resupply and put four of the Ady Gil crew ashore, before returning to Antarctic waters to resume its anti-whaling campaign. "Looking back on it, the day it happened the crew just went into shock," Captain Bethune said. "And then the day after I was angry - really angry."
Captain Bethune described how his sleek trimaran - a $1.5 million former world speed record holder donated by US television personality and ocean life protector Ady Gil - had stopped chasing the Japanese whaling fleet in Australian territorial waters on the fateful morning. As it happened, the trimaran was running low on fuel, he said. "We were dead in the water and we saw the Shonan Maru come in on us and deliberately line us up," he said.
"It wasn't like we were just in their path and they happened to come by us. They deliberately turned, and then for about 600 metres or 800 metres they came and it looked like they were going to miss us by about 20 to 30 metres. "Then suddenly they turned to starboard sharply and cut us in half.
"There's no doubt in my mind - they deliberately rammed us.
"It's not an accident - it's a deliberate act that they came in and hit us."
Captain Bethune said video footage taken from another Sea Shepherd boat, the Bob Barker, showed clearly the Ady Gil had right of way. "We've had maritime experts who have looked at the video footage from the Bob Barker and they're all unequivocal - the Shonan Maru 2 is at fault," he said.
Captain Bethune said that once his crew realised the collision was inevitable, they all dived into the cockpit for cover. "I remember as they came past, I said to the crew: 'These guys are going to hose us down, I just want you to sit there and be staunch'," he said. "So, we were all just sitting there and they got us with hoses initially and they had the LRADs [long-range acoustic devices] going - and those LRADs are pretty intimidating, they're loud as hell.
"As they're coming past, it looks like they're going to miss us by about 20 metres and then suddenly they turned to starboard and in the space of three or four seconds it went from the crew all being pretty happy about things to suddenly realising our lives were in danger.
"All five crew had the same instinct - we all jumped off the[(bow] and crashed in a heap down in the cockpit area on the back deck.
"As we were crashing in a heap, the Shonan Maru, that's when they hit us.
"The whole boat skewed around and almost went under water. This wave of water came up over the top. It was a small miracle that no one was killed.
"The forward sleeping quarters were demolished.
"If there was a person in there, they would be dead for sure."
After the collision, Captain Bethune said the Japanese tried to wash them into the freezing Southern Ocean with a high-pressure hose as they huddled aboard the sinking Ady Gil.
[The West Australian] *Updated December 27, 2011, 3:50 am* - Two Japanese security vessels with uniformed guards were tailing anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd's flagship, Steve Irwin, last night as it headed towards the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary. The Steve Irwin is closing in on the whaling fleet's factory vessel Nisshin Maru as the groups head south for the start of this year's battle over Japan's plan to kill more than 900 whales. Sea Shepherd used high-tech drones to find the whalers on Christmas Day and expects to catch up with the Nisshin Maru by New Year's Eve.
The anti-whaling group plans to block the factory ship's slipway to prevent any dead whales being dragged aboard and flensed. Steve Irwin captain Paul Watson said yesterday he was surprised by the military-style bunkers on the decks of the vessels and extent of the whaling fleet's security.
"There seem to be a lot of changes on the Shonan Maru 2 this year, with armed security personnel and they seem to have a bunker-type thing on the top of their ship with sandbags," Capt. Watson said. We are just there to stop them killing whales but we are doing everything we can to make sure we don't hurt these people."
Capt. Watson said rancid butter bombs were the worst thing the conservationists would be using against the whalers this year. Late yesterday, the Steve Irwin was about 50 nautical miles behind the factory ship while the two security vessels were sitting about seven nautical miles off the Steve Irwin's stern. Twenty Australians are among the Sea Shepherd's crew of 88, including five West Australians.
Established in 1994, the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is an area of 50 million square kilometers surrounding the continent of Antarctica where the International Whaling Commission has banned all types of commercial whaling. The IWC has designated two such sanctuaries, the other being the Indian Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
The Japanese plaintiffs are seeking a court order in U.S. District Court in Seattle that prevents the Sea Shepherd and Watson from engaging in activities at sea that could cause injuries to the crews and damage to the vessels. "The activities perpetrated by SSCS and Paul Watson not only put at risk the safety of the research vessels at sea but are also affecting the scientific achievement of the JARPA II research program and therefore cannot be overlooked," say the Japanese plaintiffs.
"This seems like a frivolous lawsuit to me," said Watson. "We have the images of the Japanese whalers destroying one of our ships, ramming our ships, running over our crew, firing upon us, throwing concussion grenades, deploying acoustical weapons, hitting us with water cannons and bamboo spears, and they are suing us because they are accusing us of violence towards them. We have not rammed them and we have not caused a single injury nor have we been charged with a crime."
Whale Sanctuary, 304 females killed: 192 pregnant, 4 lactating: The Japanese are trespassing and poaching within a known whale sanctuary. What type of research results in the SALE of WHALEMEAT to ... and protected whales in an established international whale sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling, in ...
Photos courtesy Herald Sun, The West Australian, Eyre Peninsula Tribune, AFP, and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society / Glenn Lockitch
- Ocean crying for Justice: victims of slaughter. Mother & calf are killed so is Whale defender Ady Gil (Earthrace)
- War: defend or kill endangered ocean life? Who stands between 750-ton whale-killing machine w/ military-class LRADs & its prey?
- Stand up for Ocean & Whale: Robert F. Kennedy Jr, people in Japan, world volunteers fr Australia, Canada, Germany, NZ, UK, US...
- Experts: Bethune's boarding not illegal under international law. Maritime law requires whaler to return him safely to NZ or AU
- Unprecedented victory! Volunteers, Shepherds of Sea defend oceans w/ No Compromise, chasing butchers out of Whale Sanctuary