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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Japanese whaling ship strikes back

A Japanese ship has rammed two protest boats belonging to the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd, but for now, the slaughter has stopped.

Whales are being illegally killed in Australian waters off Antarctica near the David Research Base.  Environment Minister Tony Burke said "It doesn't matter what part of the ocean it is in, Australia's view is that it is just as illegal, that's why we have taken Japan to the International Court of Justice."

But nothing is happening in the courts and the government appears too timid and frightened to send Navy ships to Antarctic waters, they just keep saying it's up to the courts.  If it wasn't for the Sea Shepherd group getting in their faces and driving them crazy, hundreds more whales would be dead by now.

The Japanese continue to use the ridiculous loop hole in the law to justify the slaughter - they are killing whales for scientific research - when everyone knows it's a lie.  They have succeeded in organizing a warrant for the arrest of Paul Watson but they should realize that there are plenty of others ready to take his place.

Yesterday there was another confrontation when the Nisshin Maru rammed two protests boats the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker.  Even though the Bob Barker was taking on water in the engine room, Captain Watson said "both vessels continued to hold their position" and crew have now stopped the water coming in.

Speaking from the Steve Irwin Watson said the Bob Barker, with 38 crew aboard, was hit a number of times as they tried to stop the Nisshin Maru from refueling, which is illegal in the Southern Ocean.  
The ship lost power, toppled the main mast and smashed up the deck. The Japanese ship rammed the protest ships to move them out of the way, so they could get to the refueling tanker and accidentally hit the Korean-owned fuel tanker, the Sun Laurel.  But they didn't wait around to offer assistance, they just left.  The Sea Shepherd is now escorting the Sun Laurel, as its lifeboats were damaged in the incident.

So is the Sea Shepherd an innocent protest group doing no wrong? Of course not, they have rammed Japanese ships many times, but for now, the cull has stopped.

This month, the US Supreme Court upheld an injunction ordering Sea Shepherd to keep away from Japanese whaling ships in the Southern Ocean.  But this incident happened inside Australian waters and inside the international Antarctic Whaling Sanctuary so sorry people, this is simply not on.

Edit February 22, 2013:  A report released today says that sending a fleet of ships to the Antarctic  every winter to hunt whales costs the Japanese taxpayer about $10 million dollars a year and without government subsidies, the industry would collapse.  Last year $20 million earmarked for reconstruction of the region devastated by the 2011 tsunami, went on whale hunting instead. With thousands of tons of whale meat left unsold amid a dramatic decline in consumption, it’s thought that the government can never hope to recoup its investment. Whaling is an economic loser in the 21st century.