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Sea Shepherd sues Japanese whalers for Piracy in Dutch Court
by Takver - Australia Indymedia
Friday Jan 8th, 2010 6:49 PM
Sea Shepherd lodged on Friday writs to sue the crew of Japanese whaling ship Shonan Maru 2 for piracy in the Dutch court system for threatening the lives of the six crew members of the Ady Gil and destroying their vessel. Conservation pirates suing pirates of profit and environmental slaughter and destruction.

"We filed a complaint for criminal prosecution with our prosecutor, requesting the start of an investigation into what we consider to be a crime -- piracy, actually -- committing violence on the high seas," Liesbeth Zegveld, a legal adviser for the group, told Reuters.

According to Dutch lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld the decision to sue in the Netherlands is justified because one of the six-strong Ady Gil crew is Dutch and the organisation's fleet flag carrier, the ship Steve Irwin, is registered in the Netherlands.

'There is enough evidence,' she said. 'The collision has been recorded on film.'

On Wednesday, January 6, 2010 Japanese whalers rammed the Sea Shepherd boat Ady Gil causing catastrophic damage. The Institute for Cetecean Research refused to accept responsibility for the ramming by the Shonan Maru 2. The 6 crew were all rescued by the second Sea Shepherd vessel in the area, the Bob Baker. The crew were immersed in the icy seas, forced to hang on to the deck for their lives. Crewman Simeon Houtman, of Auckland, received broken ribs in the ramming.

The Bob Barker attempted to tow the stricken vessel to the French Antarctic research station Dumont Durville, but the Ady Gil continued taking on water into its main hull, and has now sunk.

Sea Shepherd have released video footage of the final minutes before the collision which shows the volunteer crew relaxing, talking about the days events, their need to refuel, and farewelling their friends on the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Baker.

At approximately 50 seconds (2mins 30 sec into video) and 20 seconds (3 mins into video) before impact the whaling vessel makes turns to starboard putting it in a direct collision course with the Ady Gil. This can only be described as a purposeful, premeditated action.

Three other Japanese harpoon vessels had safely overtaken the Ady Gil, so why did the Shonan Maru navigate a direct collision course?

The natural thing for the Japanese Master to do would be by second nature not make those two turns to starboard and thus give the Ady Gil plenty of clearance as the Ady Gil had right of way. They also had the option of turning to port to avoid the collision, which clearly they did only after impact.

The actions of the Japanese ship were purposeful and their navigation decisions endangered six lives destroying another vessel. This was an act of high seas piracy far surpassing anything Sea Shepherd had done or even threatened to do to Japanese ships.

Sea Shepherd engages in harassment activities to disrupt an illegal activity. That is one level, Attempted murder is on a completely different level.


Video: Japanese Whalers film Ady Gil being rammed by Shonan Maru 2 | Video: Ady Gil rammed by Shonan Maru 2 filmed by Sea Shepherd from Bob Barker

Whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is a violation of International Treaties and Australian Law

Japan is violating international and Australian law. The following list summarizes some of the violations.

  • 1. The Japanese are whaling in violation of the International Whaling Commission's global moratorium on commercial whaling. The IWC scientific committee does not recognize the research that the Japanese are using as an excuse.
  • 2. The Japanese are killing whales in the internationally recognised Southern Ocean Sanctuary for whales.
  • 3. The Japanese are killing whales unlawfully in the Australian Antarctic Territory (Australian Law - Federal Court judgement January 2008 under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999)
  • 4. The Japanese are targeting fin whales and humpback whales. One is listed as an endangered species and the other listed as a threatened species. This is a violation of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, of which both Japan and Australia are signatories.
  • 5. The Japanese are in violation of IWC regulation 19. (a) The IWC regulations in the Schedule to the Convention forbid the use of factory ships to process any protected stock: 19. (a) It is forbidden to use a factory ship or a land station for the purpose of treating any whales which are classified as Protection Stocks in paragraph 10. Paragraph 10(c) provides a definition of Protection Stocks and states that Protection Stocks are listed in the Tables of the Schedule. Table 1 lists all the baleen whales, including minke, fin and humpback whales and states that all of them are Protection Stocks.
  • 6. The IWC regulations specifically ban the use of factory ships to processy any whales except minke whales: Paragraph 10(d) provides: "(d) Notwithstanding the other provisions of paragraph 10 there shall be a moratorium on the taking, killing or treating of whales, except minke whales, by factory ships or whale catchers attached to factory ships. This moratorium applies to sperm whales, killer whales and baleen whales, except minke whales."
  • 7. the presence of military/ security forces breaches the Antarctic treaty
  • 8. the whaling fleet regularly refuels in the treaty zone below 60 degrees south in breach of the Antarctic treaty. In October 2008 the whaling fleet's refueling and cargo vessel, Oriental Bluebird, was deflagged following a ruling by Panamian Authorities. The maximum fine of 10,000 Balboas (US$10,000) was imposed on the owners of the ship, Hiyo Shipping Co. Ltd, in Japan who on October 8th removed its Panamanian registration and flag. Japan has ratified an international treaty which seeks to end the practice of 're-flagging' vessels in order to circumvent international environmental law.
  • 9. the Whaling fleet fails to submit Environmental Management Plans in case of a maritime disaster in the Treaty zone which breaches the Antarctic treaty. The Nisshin Maru factory ship caught fire in 2007 losing all power including to its engines. One crew member died. An environmental disaster was threatened, but did not eventuate.

Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace and indeed any global citizen or group of citizens is authorized to take action in accordance with the U.N. World Charter for Nature. The United Nations World Charter for Nature states in Section 21:

"States and, to the extent they are able, other public authorities, international organizations, individuals, groups and corporations shall...:
(c) Implement the applicable international legal provisions for the conservation of nature, and the protection of the environment;
(d) Ensure that activities within their jurisdiction , or control do not cause damage to the natural systems located within other States or in the areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction;
(e) safeguard and conserve nature in areas beyond national jurisdiction."

Section 24 of the United Nations World Charter for Nature states:

"Each person has a duty to act in accordance with the provisions of the present Charter; acting individually, in association with others or through participation in the political process, each person shall strive to ensure that the objectives and requirements of the present charter are met."

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by aguylivinginjapan
Saturday Jan 9th, 2010 8:18 AM
For people lost or new to the subject as I am:

The article references are not so clear, and it was hard to understand why IWC does not recognize the research in question so here are important quotes and references to help the understanding:
. Japan is a member state of the IWC
. IWC Whale killing permits can be issued by member states without anyone else's agreement (and against Scientific Commitee's recommendations):
Quote: "[...]it is the member nation that ultimately decides whether or not to issue a permit"
. Japan has a research program concerning whales in Antartica: JARPA-II
. However the methodologies of the research program have not been agreed on by IWC
Quote: "In 2007 the Commission passed a Resolution asking Japan to refrain from issuing a permit for JARPA II by 40 votes in favour, 2 votes against and 1 abstention; 27 countries decided not to participate in the vote as they believed that the submission of the proposal was not conducive to building bridges within the Commission."
. Japan however issued whales killing permit for JARPA-II:
"Present status
The 2-year feasibility study has now been completed and Japan has issued permits for 2007/08 and 2008/09."

So actually the IWC does NOT support the methodology, but Japan DON'T BREAK THE LAW either, because at present time their permit overrule any IWC resolution.

Therefore, we can easily see from the 5 points above that if you have a research project and if you are member of the IWC, you can issue permits as you wish... So you can almost freely go and fish whales...
That is pretty convenient...

I am pointing out those references, since if you go to the JARPA project web page (as I did), you could believe that IWC actually supports the project (as I did for about 1 hour, before finding the permits trick).

But Japanese "researchers" will still tell us that they didn't break the law, which seems true on this point.
So now I really wonder why the author put this example in the part:
"Japan is violating international and Australian law" , since they DON'T break the law on this particular point (but the article is written in such a way that this point comes out as an argument in favor of the law violation).

I am getting tired and didn't try to find other references, especially on "4. The Japanese are targeting fin whales and humpback whales[...]", because this seem difficult for a lambda earth inhabitant to verify what fish a Japanese boat is targeting on the other side of the planet...

This one as well "the presence of military/ security forces breaches the Antarctic treaty". Except for this article I didn't find any reference to military Japanese ship involved in the incident with the Ady Gil (Only heard of research ships until now)

So if anyone can follow and try to cover following points, I would be really thankful to see where it goes.

Finally, many thanks to the author of the article to give us some concrete material. Actually this would be the best article on the subject if the law violations part came with some concrete reference and few explanations (I guess there is also a time constraint when writing such an article).
Anyway that is what our comments are meant for!

I am not particularly for or against whales fishing, but agree that in a general matter any kind of hunt/fishing should be limited by law (quotas etc...) to ensure a stable natural renewing of the populations.
Also I usually do not feel more sorry for whales than for cows... actually inversely from the appearance I would think that a cow is closer to a human being than a whale...

But I felt by seeing videos that the Japanese boat did attack the Sea Shepherd's ship, and then we are not talking about whales, but about murder attempt as the article says.
Moreover, they didn't seem to come back to help the sinking ship, but used water canons on the sinking boat's crew!!!! This is inhumane if this is true (Japanese are claiming this was an accident, and ship navigator would agree that in such a case, usually the smallest ship is wrong, since it put volunteerily itself on a collision course...).

What is the truth in this whole story???
And please concrete references from official organizations (myownbuildmaterial.com is not considered as a trusted source of information)...

by Larry
Saturday Jan 9th, 2010 11:51 AM

Judge for yourself, keep in mind the Ady Gil's captain was
effectively blinded by water canon spray as the Japanese ship
turned into his craft.
by Takver - Australia Indymedia
Saturday Jan 9th, 2010 6:30 PM
Thankyou for your considered comment aguylivinginjapan

aguylivinginjapan: So actually the IWC does NOT support the methodology, but Japan DON'T BREAK THE LAW either, because at present time their permit overrule any IWC resolution.

Because Japan has issued itself a scientific permit for whaling but markets and sells the whale meat it is exploiting a loophole in the IWC. The contention is they are in fact performing commercial whaling in a whale sanctuary, which is in contravention of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. A case needs to be brought before the International Court of Justice arguing that Japan’s conduct of JARPA II was contrary to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling to test this.
See the IWC on commercial whaling

aguylivinginjapan: I am getting tired and didn't try to find other references, especially on "4. The Japanese are targeting fin whales and humpback whales[...]"

The Institute for Cetecean Reseach has issued a permit for "850 (with 10% allowance) Antarctic minke whales (Eastern Indian Ocean and Western South Pacific stocks), 50 humpback whales (D and E stocks) and 50 fin whales (Indian Ocean and the Western South Pacific stocks)."

Hunting fin whales and humpback whales breaches 1973 Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) http://www.cites.org/

aguylivinginjapan: This one as well "the presence of military/ security forces breaches the Antarctic treaty". Except for this article I didn't find any reference to military Japanese ship involved in the incident with the Ady Gil (Only heard of research ships until now)

According to the Antarctic treaty "any measure of a military nature" is prohibited. See Article I at http://www.scar.org/treaty/at_text.html

It could be construed that the armed military personnel on board the whaling fleet and the designated "security ships" attached to the fleet, one of which is the Shonan Maru 2 which rammed and causing catastrphic damage to the Ady Gil, are in breach of Article I of the Antarctic Treaty. Designated security vessels and armed personnel have been a part of the Japanese whaling fleet for the last two years.

The use of factory ships is regulated by the IWC under the schedule to the convention and the slaughter of whale species other than Minke is forbidden. Japan is in breach of these regulations by targeting other species.

There have been a number of legal reports produced indicating that the Japanese whaling program is illegal on several counts. These full reports are confidential.

They include

the London report released in November 2007

the Sydney Report released in May 2007,

the Paris Report on Whaling released in 2006

There is a summary report of the Sydney panel report available. They concluded that Japan’s rapidly expanding ‘scientific’ whaling program breaches the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Antarctic Treaty System and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the International Convention on the Regulation of Whaling.

“Japan’s whaling program is illegal and will remain so until a government takes steps to challenge this unlawful activity”, said Professor Don Rothwell, chair of the Sydney Legal Panel.

Here are the conclusions of the Sydney panel from the Pdf found at:

Sydney Panel of Independent International Experts on Japan’s Special Permit (“Scientific”) Whaling under International Law

Principal Conclusions
That Australia and New Zealand consider sponsoring meetings of legal, scientific and policy experts to discuss options to resolve the dispute with Japan and the future of whale conservation within the International Whaling Commission
That Australia and New Zealand consider requesting Japan to agree to an ad hoc (one off) arbitration of the dispute on mutually agreeable terms
That Australia and New Zealand seek to raise their concerns over the conduct of JARPA II before the Antarctic Treaty parties, including at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR)
That Japan’s actions under JARPA II may be contrary to the requirement to conduct environmental impact assessment under the provisions of the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity
That Japan’s authorisation of JARPA II may lead to breaches of the 1973 Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
That Australia and New Zealand consider commencing a legal claim before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) seeking compulsory settlement of a dispute under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
That Australia and New Zealand also consider commencing a legal claim before the International Court of Justice arguing that Japan’s conduct of JARPA II was contrary to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.

The Panel also noted that any legal action before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea or the International Court of Justice allowed for an immediate injunction to be sought which would have the effect of halting the Japanese whaling program prior to the commencement of the coming season.

Members of the Sydney Panel were:
Professor Donald R. Rothwell (Panel Chair; Professor of International Law, ANU College of Law, Australian National University, Canberra)
Professor Ivan Shearer (Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Sydney, Sydney; Member, United Nations Human Rights Committee; Judge Ad Hoc, International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea)
Dr Christopher Ward (Sydney and Canberra Bar; President – International Law Association (Australian Branch))
Associate Professor Greg Rose (Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security, University of Wollongong, Wollongong)
Dr Natalie Klein (Division of Law, Macquarie University, Sydney; Counsel before the International Court of Justice)
Dr Tim Stephens (Panel Rapporteur; Faculty of Law, University of Sydney, Sydney)

aguylivinginjapan: Also I usually do not feel more sorry for whales than for cows... actually inversely from the appearance I would think that a cow is closer to a human being than a whale...

I also draw your attention to animal welfare concerns in the 2004 report TROUBLED WATERS A REVIEW OF THE WELFARE IMPLICATIONS OF MODERN WHALING ACTIVITIES. We have humane methods of slaughter for domesticated animals, but current whaling operations "are likely to cause severe pain and suffering in the hunted animal."

Whales species are all intelligent social species and their slaughter should be accorded the same welfare concern as we treat domesticated species raised for food.

"When assessing the welfare potential of whale killing methods using accepted principles of humane slaughter, it is clear that current whaling operations have a low welfare potential, and are likely to cause severe pain and suffering in the hunted animal." (summary of conclusions)

Overall Conclusion: "Modern day whaling activities give rise to serious animal welfare concerns. A number of factors inherent in current whaling practices render it unlikely that truly humane standards could ever be achieved. On grounds of animal welfare alone, therefore, all whaling operations should be halted."

Just a few references for you to follow up.
by aguylivinginjapan
Monday Jan 11th, 2010 5:20 PM
thanks for all the references, I'm reading it. actually about the permit issuance, I do agree that they are exploiting a weakness in the IWC agreement, but I guess this will be hard to prove...? anyway Im reading all your references it is very interesting. thank you again.
by Tom
( lee.strachov [at] cba.com.au ) Wednesday Jan 13th, 2010 10:47 PM
- The japanese are brutal, lying savages commiting crimes on the high seas
- They dump tons of whale offal and refuel illegally
- They force feed mecury ridden dolphion and whale meat to their own children
- They are great at propaganda, up there with hitler if you ask me
- a WW2 style effort is required because diplomacy won't stop a damn thing
- They have huge stockpiles of unwanted meat in the deep freeze that they can't give away
- Security ships now with weapons? come on. Whats next? gun fire (oh wait we had that didnt we?)
- the financial cost of this 'research' must be enormous. How can they afford it with so many domestic issues...
- 9000 whales killed over 22 years for research with nothing to show for it? Gosh
by Richard wilkins
Wednesday Jan 13th, 2010 10:50 PM

“With well over 9,000 minke whales killed in 22 years and no useful data produced, Japan’s so-called ‘research’ in the Antarctic is an
international embarrassment.”

Got you on that one Japan.

Now, let’s hope that captain and crew get arrested for ramming the Ady Gil. Leaving the scene of a maritime accident which they caused.

Lets hope another fire happens on the Nisshin Maru 2 years ago. They left a man behind last year (made no effort to find him).

How many millions are they spending on this expedition this year? All beefed up for research? Yah right, they are ready for a fight. Naval
vessels in disguise?