Send ship to keep whaling peace: activists

The Sea Shepherd conservation group says governments concerned about dangerous confrontations between protesters and Japanese whalers should be sending a ship to keep the peace.

The governments of Australia, New Zealand, the US and the Netherlands have jointly said they are “deeply concerned” about the potential for injury or loss of life during the summer whaling season.

The Southern Ocean showdown is predicted to be the most volatile yet, with whalers to be escorted by beefed-up security, which Sea Shepherd says could involve armed boats.

In past years it’s been very clear that the aggression is coming from the Japanese side resulting in, for instance, the sinking of the Ady Gil two years ago,” Alex Cornelissen, captain of Sea Shepherd vessel the Bob Barker, told AAP today.

“We really feel that the government should be sending a ship down there, whether it’s the New Zealand government or the Australian government.

“They should be down there monitoring the situation and making sure that people’s lives are indeed preserved.”

Tensions reached breaking point when the Ady Gil and the Japanese boat Shonan Maru 2 collided in January last year and the dramatic pictures beamed around the world.

Whalers have asked an American court to prevent the three Sea Shepherd ships leaving Hobart and Western Australia, but the protesters are expected to leave Australia within days.

Mr Cornelissen said his crew were preparing themselves for a more dangerous mission than in previous years, after the Japanese government boosted security spending on the whaling fleet by $27 million.

“That might be satellite pictures, that might be armed security forces, we don’t really know at this point,” he said.

“It’s going to be a dangerous year, it’s going to be a difficult year and especially because we’ve set out the goal that we want not a single whale to be killed this year.”

Sea Shepherd claims to have saved more than 800 whales from last year’s hunt, which Japan maintains is for scientific purposes, and says the industry is in such decline that this could be the final campaign.

“There’s no real market for the whale meat in Japan, nobody’s buying it any more so it’s just an outdated industry that really has to come to an end,” Mr Cornelissen said.

The Bob Barker, named after an American game-show host who donated $5 million to Sea Shepherd, has been docked in Hobart for around two weeks.

Ironically a former Norwegian whaling ship, it will join the Steve Irwin and a trimaran, the Brigitte Bardot, on the protest mission.


Editorial Blog –


~ by FSVSF Admin on 15 December, 2011.

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