Canadian born, Paul Watson
After skipping bail in Germany, Paul Watson's anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd is ready and waiting to confront the Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic. He was too radical for Greenpeace, they couldn't handle his aggressive tactics of direct confrontation, so he left and started his own conservation group. And he drives the Japanese crazy, last season they cut short their hunt and went home early.
In July Watson was arrested at the behest of the Costa Rican government for an incident that happened in 2002. He is accused of ramming one of their ships after they discovered the Costa Ricans were illegally chopping the fins off hundreds of sharks. "I want to stay in the ocean, I can't do that from some holding cell in Japan" he said.
On 17th December 2012, Captain Paul Watson wrote:
It looks like the Japanese whaling fleet is ready to rumble. They fired their opening shot today by having the United States 9th District Court issue an injunction against Sea Shepherd and Captain Paul Watson, specifically. The court order was a single page e-mail granting the injunction despite the fact that the preliminary injunction was denied in February 2012 by Judge Richard Jones in Seattle. In a completely unprecedented move, the preliminary injunction was granted by three judges on the 9th Circuit before a hearing has taken place and before the trial on this matter slated for September 2013.
It is a complex situation whereby a United States Court is issuing an injunction against Dutch and Australian vessels carrying an international crew, operating out of Australia and New Zealand in international waters and the waters of the Australian Antarctic Economic Zone. In addition the Court has ignored the fact that the Japanese whalers are in contempt of a court order by the Australian Federal Court and the whaling takes place in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
What is the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society going to do?Sea Shepherd’s position is clear: Our ships, officers and crew are 100% committed to achieving a zero-kill quota on whales. This is Operation Zero Tolerance and 120 crew members from 26 different nations are prepared to risk their lives to defend endangered and protected whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Sea Shepherd is committed to defending the integrity of this internationally established sanctuary.
What is the purpose of a whale sanctuary codified into international law if Japan can kill whales within its territorial waters while in contempt of the Australian Federal Court?
We expect that the Japanese whaling fleet was waiting for this ruling before departing from Japan. They will find when they arrive that we will still be there guarding the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary with our ships and our lives. We will defend these whales as we have for the last eight years – non-violently and legally.
For the whales, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Captains, Crew, Directors and Staff
This month, the Sam Simon was unveiled in Hobart. Los Angeles-based philanthropist and co-creator of "The Simpsons" donated funds to buy the ship that bears his name. The irony is the Sam Simon is an ex Japanese so-called "Research" ship.
Today, 29th December 2012, we learn that three Japanese vessels have left for the Southern Ocean but Japan refuses to confirm their departure. Their goal - by March 2013, they hope to kill 935 Antarctic minke whales and 50 fin whales. The US court has ordered the group to stay at least 500 metres away from Japanese ships after a complaint from Japan.
This season, the group have one helicopter, drones and four main vessels - the Steve Irwin, Bob Barker, Brigitte Bardot and Sam Simon. The drones will be used for surveillance, reconnaissance and documentation. They are military-quality and can fly hundreds of miles ahead of his ships.
Stranded fin whale
Watson said it's unlikely he'll return to the US because he believes American authorities would turn him over to Japan.
Good luck Paul Watson, our hearts and minds are with you, all the way.