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
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
"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
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."
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
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