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Sea Shepherd in pursuit of Whalers in Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary
by Takver - Sydney Indymedia
Saturday Dec 20th, 2008 4:46 AM
Anti-whaling activists on board the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Steve Irwin have intercepted the Japanese whaling fleet inside the Australian Antarctic Economic Exclusion Zone at 64°26 South and 132° 40' East on Friday 19 December. The encounter took place in dense fog, ice conditions and winds picking up to 50 knots approaching blizzard conditions.

Photo: The Japanese harpoon whaling vessel the Yushin Maru No. 2 crosses the bow of Sea Shepherd's M/V Steve Irwin in Antarctica's Southern Ocean on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008. Photo by Adam Lau/Sea Shepherd

Sea Shepherd launched an inflatable boat to launch a rotten butter bomb attack on the Yushin Maru No 2, but the inflatable was recalled for safety reasons given the weather conditions. The Yushin Maru No 2 then headed north with the Steve Irwin staying in pursuit of the rest of the Japanese whaling fleet. The whaling fleet has for the moment stopped whaling activities and is running with the Sea Shepherd crew of the Steve Irwin in pursuit.

Captain Paul Watson said "It looks like Whale Wars, season #2 is officially underway. We've got them on the run. They are not in the Ross Sea where they said they would be. They are in Australian waters. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is officially calling on Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith to order the Japanese fleet to comply with the orders of the Australian Federal Court and to cease and desist from killing to whales in Australian waters."

Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett told Sky News that "All the things that we said we would do a little over 12 months ago we've done. We sent the Oceanic Viking over the last season to collect material for potential legal use. That option remains on the table."

On the 10th December Peter Garrett called for restraint by whalers and whaling activists, while conveying Australia's opposition to the Japanese whaling program through intense diplomatic engagement. Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith was supposedly raising the issue of whaling with his counterpart in Japan on December 19.

Japan's whaling fleet left from the Japanese port of Innoshima on November 17, 2008 with Greenpeace activists displaying banners reading "Whaling on Trial", another in Japanese outlining the whaling operation's multi-million dollar drain on Japan's taxpayers. The high profile departure was cancelled this year, according to Greenpeace with just the family of crew members and whaling and fisheries officials farewelling the fleet.

In October the whaling fleet's refueling and cargo vessel, Oriental Bluebird, was deflagged following a ruling by Panamian Authorities, which is expected to greatly impact the whaling fleet's capacity to transport whale meat back to Japan. 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.

"The Oriental Bluebird has now become an international pariah vessel, and its owners will be urgently looking for a new flag State which will condone its breaches of environmental treaties. It would make a mockery of international law if Japan continued to rely on the services of this vessel," said Sara Holden, Greenpeace International Whales Campaign coordinator. "We are delighted that Panama has found the vessel guilty. Japan must now do the same, not just by mothballing the Oriental Bluebird, but by retiring the entire whaling fleet. The international community has a responsibility to hold Japan to this."

According to Greenpeace, Japan has ratified an international treaty (FAO Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas) which seeks to end the practice of 're-flagging' vessels in order to circumvent international environmental law. The treaty bars Japan from authorising a ship to participate in the exploitation of marine living resources for at least three years, if that ship has changed its flag after being found in breach of international conservation measures.

The Japanese government has this year added an extra 800 million yen (US$8 million) for a coastguard ship to act as so-called "protection" for the fleet. Sea Shepherd found the Japanese whaling fleet less than a week after leaving Hobart, Tasmania.

Commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean is an illegal activity with Japan engaging in commercial whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary under the guise of scientific research provisions of the International Whaling Commission.


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Jacques
Sunday Dec 21st, 2008 1:18 AM
There are three covenants that Japanese Imperialism is breaking in its illegal whaling expeditions. CITES, is the United Nations covenants that rule on the endangered species of the world and the illegality of killing endangered species for any reason. In the quota of approx. one thousand whales this season in the southern oceans whale sanctury that Japan has unilaterally set for itself there are 45 (approx.) whales that are designated as endangered. That is illegal according to international laws set forth by the democracy of the worlds' peoples through the Charter of the United Nations and its various deptments to end killing of endangered species.

Next there is the International Whaling Commission--IWC-- that has for several decades now set a moritorium on all commercial whaling in the world, because the whales were hunted to near extinction in many areas during the later part of the ninteenth century and the early twentieth century. What that means is that Japanese Imperialism is guilty of breaking the IWC moratorium of commercial whaling. The IWC is the expression of the worlds' whaling industry and it decision to allow the worlds whales to live rather than hunting them all to extinction which surely would occure if the modern industrial fleets were let loose on them. It would only be a matter of time till there would not be any whales left in the oceans of the world. Mercy is indicated by conservancy organizations that intend to stop the slaughter of the great whales. Japan calls these merciful organizations eco-terrorists. Someone is lying. All honest peoples know that it is the Japanese whalers that are lying and evil in the purpose of selling on the market a thousand whales and under cover of doing only the loophole of research. More than that, a great deal of the meat from the whales and porposes that they kill is given to the public school children for their lunches and as the oceans are largely poisoned by the industrial revolution of the wolrd directing its effluent into the ocean waters, in fact they are poisoning the elementary school children in the schools, who are alloted the meat from the illegal kills. In fact that is a de facto war crime committed against their own children in that the Geneva Conventions of war says that poisoning and causing death and sickness of the civilians is a war crime. It is not allowed in international law to which the Japanese are signed on to. Further article 9 of the anti-fascist Japanese constitution says : " CHAPTER 2--- RENUNCIALTION OF WAR--- Article 9 -- Aspiring sincerly to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation, and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

In order to accopllish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces as well other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized." This part of the Japanese constitution is being deliberately violated by the same forces that caused the destruction of the peoples during the second world war. Namely the 800,000 Chinese citizens murdered by the use of chemical and biological weapons in China, and act for which the Japanese Government has refused to appologize for or to pay reparatrations to the remaining hundreds of thousands of victims. Japan has now shifted its hatred of life and its methods of killing against the worlds democracy on to other species such as endangered whales and their own civilian population by feeding them chemical toxic poisons which are found in the poiposes and whales meat , and all for the sake of profits for illegal monopolies even according to their own vows in the their own anti-fascist constitution.

Forthly, the SOUTHERN OCEAN WHALE SANCTUARY is the sacred zone that the worlds peoples have set aside to assure the worlds whales that they have a sanctuary, that they can be liberated and free from all harassment so that they can recover and become a viable life form again and continue their intelligent and sentient being and balance in the oceans of the worlds ecological living. Does Japan realize intelligently that the anti-social practice of making profits from monopoly companies at the expense of the living green organic balances is in fact a war of Imperial aggression against the worlds life and that it therefore is breaking its own solumn vow to never practice belligerent war again stated in their very own contstitution. It is japan which is committing illegal war crimes, and defeating again the worlds democracy. It is Japan that is the eco-terrorist, and not the conservationists that are upholding world democracy that is intended by the majority of the worlds people to save the whales forever on this planet and in its oceans. Not obeying democracy internationally is not knew for Japan, but a throw back to the times of its fascist empire when it starved to death two milllion Vietnamese deliberately, and now it sets out to catch all the fish in the sea, and kill beyond natures sustainabliity all whales in the oceans. Japan is becomming a world problem again, and should it continue to break its anti-fascist covenants and continue to break and refuse world majority democracy it will soon recieve the justice that it so roundly deserves. They ought therefore to end their illegal piracy against the whales and sea mammals, and become a legitimate citizen of the world again. Or is the fact that communism, which is not other than working together of all species to a livable organic ecological balance to hard for them to understand??