Heal Our Planet Earth
Sea Shepherd Crew Heading South to Defend the Whales  
Wednesday, December 03, 2008

by Captain Paul Watson

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Steve Irwin departed the Port of Brisbane today with an international volunteer crew of 48.

The crew includes 33 men and 15 women. 14 of the crew are from Australia and 4 from New Zealand with the rest of the crew hailing from Japan, Canada, Great Britain, the USA, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, South Africa, Hungary, and Bermuda. 8 of the crew are representing Animal Planet for the documenting of the 2nd season of the series Whale Wars. The other 40 crewmembers make up the crew for Operation Musashi. 23 of the crew are returning veterans and for the remaining 25, this is their first time on a Sea Shepherd campaign.

Included in the crew that departed from Brisbane is Daryl Hanna, a longtime dedicated environmental activist and actor whose films include Blade Runner, Kill Bill, Roxanne and Splash.

The Steve Irwin will make a brief stop for fuel before proceeding to the Ross Sea to intercept the Japanese whaling fleet.

The Japanese whaling fleet is targeting 935 threatened Piked whales plus 50 endangered Fin whales in an established Whale Sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling.

"Our objective is to sink the Japanese whaling fleet economically." Said Captain Paul Watson.

The whales do not have time to wait until awareness is changed in Japan. The killing must be ended now and the key to success is to interfere with profits. Sea Shepherd intends to make sure that the financial losses of the Japanese fleet exceed their profits. This is the only language that the whalers understand.

Sea Shepherd has given the name of Operation Musashi to this year's campaign in reference to the legendary samurai ronin and master strategist Miyomoto Musashi who is to Japan what Ned Kelly, Robin Hood and Jesse James are to Australia, England and the United States.

Musashi wrote of the "two-fold way of pen and sword" and that means that confrontation plus communication is the strategy to be followed this year. Sea Shepherd will physically block the Japanese harpoons and we will be producing a dramatic television series to communicate the problem and our solution to the world.

All Sea Shepherd tactics are designed not cause bodily injury. Last year, the whalers accused Sea Shepherd crew of throwing "acid" on them. While technically rotten butter is butyric acid, it is less acidic than beer or orange juice. But it does stink very bad and thus interferes with their work.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society expects the Japanese to be more aggressive this year. They are losing money and their image as whale butchers is becoming a growing embarrassment. Last year the whalers threw concussion grenades and fired live shots at the crew of the Steve Irwin. We expect they will be more hostile facing another year of losses.

The Sea Shepherd crew are also concerned over Greenpeace allegations that Sea Shepherd is a violent organization. "This kind of irresponsible rhetoric could get us killed," said Steve Irwin 2nd Officer Peter Hammarstedt of Sweden. "If Greenpeace continue to make these unsubstantiated accusations, it could serve to justify violence by the whalers against us. We would like to request that they cease and desist from making remarks that may possibly endanger our lives."

Captain Paul Watson expects to intercept the Japanese whaling fleet in the Ross Sea area around sometime during the last 10 days of December.

"Hopefully we will arrive in time to give the gift of life to the whales this Christmas and hopefully we will see 2009 as the last year that these outlaw whalers continue to slaughter these intelligent, defenseless and gentle sentient creatures."

Comments on Article

Everyone knows that this voyage is dangerous, perhaps, after last year's shooting, more so than ever before. Therefore, all on the Steve Irwin are heroes knowingly sailing into harm's way for the good of those who cannot even say thanks in a way we can understand.

Being the pragmatist that I am, I would now suggest forming a contingency plan that can be swung into action immediately and with full force in the event that Japanese violence results in injury or, the Whale God forbids, death, on the part of Sea Shepherd. I wouldn't say so had the Captain himself not been hit by a Japanese bullet, and indeed could have been killed had he not been wearing a kevlar vest. Since the Japanese sniper was probably not aware of our Captain wearing a vest, and the bullet did impact on his chest, this act was one of attempted murder.

Such a contingency plan should aim for using such an incident to deal an immediate fatal blow not only to the Japanese whaling industry, but to the reputation and the soul of Japan. Forming such a contingency plan can safeguard us from knee-jerk reactions and falling into a state of disarray. And the existence of the plan should remind Japan and its whalers that any such murderous act will be an act of industrial and spiritual suicide on their part.

This in a sense is a sad statement, because their firing a bullet at a Sea Shepherd member is morally no better and no worse than their firing a harpoon into the defenseless body of a whale, or cutting the throat of a helpless dolphin.

May the Earth Force be with you! 

Posted by Anthony Marr on Dec 3, 2008 6:48 PM


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