FRIDAY HARBOR, Washington -- The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has drawn up an arrest warrant for the Japanese whaling fleet.
“We intend to intervene against the continued illegal whaling activities of the Japanese fleet in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary,” said Captain Paul Watson. “We intend to stop the killing of endangered species of whales in the Sanctuary, whales that are being killed in violation of the global moratorium on whaling. We intend to enforce the orders of the Australian Federal Court that has banned Japanese whalers from killing whales in the waters of the Australian Antarctic Territory. Our objective is to arrest the Nisshin Maru and its fleet of hunter killer boats.”
In four months time, the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin will depart from Australia for Sea Shepherd’s fifth major mission to confront the illegal activities of the Japanese whaling fleet.
Every year Sea Shepherd has gone South we have been increasingly more effective. In 2005/2006 the whalers were 84 whales short of their quota because of our interventions. In 2006/2007 they only took half their quota and in 2007/2008 they took zero Humpbacks, zero Fin whales and only half their Piked whale quota. They have lost tens of millions of dollars and the so called Institute for Cetacean Research is over fifty million dollars in debts on loans from the Japanese government.
The Japanese whaling industry is becoming increasingly more frustrated because of the annual interference with their operations and the rising debt they are incurring. We suspect that they will be more violently defensive of their illegal activities this next season than they were last season. There is talk of sending a Japanese warship to the Southern Ocean and if that happens it will be a violation of the Antarctic Treaty. There is talk about physically assaulting the Steve Irwin and capturing the crew and taking them back to Japan as prisoners. If that happens it will certainly be an international incident involving numerous nations because the crew of Sea Shepherd ships are usually citizens of a dozen different countries.
No amount of intimidation will deter Sea Shepherd from returning to the Southern Ocean this year. Every single crewmember onboard the ship understands the risks. Far better to risk one’s life for the protection of the whales and the oceans than to die for some oil well somewhere, or over some asinine conflict over real estate.
This year’s campaign is called Operation Musashi in honour of legendary Samurai warrior Miyamoto Musashi who wrote of the two-fold way of pen and sword signifying that confrontation must be partnered with education to achieve a permanent victory. The name was also chosen to reflect that Sea Shepherd is not opposed to Japanese culture. In fact Sea Shepherd operates very much in accordance with Japanese cultural values. The word “samurai” means to serve and in this respect, Sea Shepherd crew are the Samurai of the Seas.
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