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Japanese Fire On Sea Shepherd Crew - Three Injured
Steve Irwin Captain Shot Cameraman and Crewmember Injured by Flash Grenade

07 Mar 2008 09:56

At 1545 ( 0445 G.M.T.)a clash between the crew of the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin and the Japanese whaling ship Nishiin Maru turned violent when Japanese Coast Guard threw flash grenades at the crew of the Steve Irwin.

Captain Paul Watson was struck by a bullet in the chest which fortunately was stopped by his Kevlar vest. The bullet struck just above the heart and mangled Captain Watson's anti-poaching badge on his sweater underneath. Doctor David Page pried the bullet from the vest.

Doctor David Page was videotaped prying the bullet from Captain Watson's Kevlar vest. "You have been hit by a bullet," he said.

The kevlar vest and badge effectively saved Captain's Watson life.

Ashley Dunn 35, from Launceston, Tasmania suffered a hip injury when he tried to get out of the way of the exploding grenades.

Ralph Lowe 33, from Melbourne, Australia received bruises to his back when one of the flash grenades exploded behind him.

The Japanese were retaliating against the Sea Shepherd crew for tossing rotten butter on the decks to discourage whaling activities. The clash came after a weeklong pursuit by the Steve Irwin of the Nisshin Maru, in an effort to stop illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Earlier in the day at 0800 Hours (1900 G.M.T.) the Steve Irwin had ordered the Nisshin Maru to leave French Territorial waters. The Japanese whaler complied and turned around and headed back west into Australian waters.

The confrontation occurred inside the Australian Territorial Zone at the position of 63 Degrees, 41 Minutes South and 133 Degrees 27 Minutes East.

Video and photos of the incident are being transmitted to Sea Shepherd's head office.

======== COMMENTS ===============
Paul Watson shot in the chest saved by his vest

This is on CNN as I write. Capt. Watson was opening his shirt to show the dent in his vest.

The matter has now escalated from killing whales to attempted murder of a human. Had Capt. Watson not been wearing a vest, he would have suffered severe lung damage and most likely been killed. There is more than adequate cause to put Japan on trial for attempted murder in an international court. Japan will likely deny the shooting, and the shooter may have chucked the weapon into the ocean, but forensic science would be able to determine the type of weapon used by analyzing the bullet extracted from Capt. Watson's vest. Japan cannot categoricall denial the type of weapons used by the Japanese Coast Guard and stocked in the Japanese whaling fleet.

Even if this case doesn't go to court, Japan now has acquired a new reputation over and above "pseudoscientific whale killer" - "failed assassin".

Anthony Marr

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What would we be doing right now if Paul Watson wasn't wearing his vest?

I cannot help but wonder that if, IF, Paul wasn't wearing his vest, what we would be doing now. To be more exact, if Paul was killed, what would we be doing this very minute? The fact that he was wearing a vest and therefore did not die does not relieve the Japanese of a single quark of guilt. If Paul wasn't wearing his vest, he'd probably be flying home in a body bag right now. There'd be a global uprising like you won't believe. Wouldn't that be a sight to behold? I'm glad that Paul did not die. But don't let him be punched in the chest in vain, by a Japanese bullet with Paul Watson's name on it.

And one more thing. Maybe the Japanese were thinking that if they knocked out the Captain, the movement would die. Let's all write the Japanese embassy saying that they would have to kill each and every one of us.

Anthony

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