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Whale war subsides as Sea Shepherd leaves Japanese fleet, heads home

Sea Shepherd crew in an inflatable boat harass Japanese factory whaling ship, the Nisshin Maru.

It was fun while it lasted, wasn't it?

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's effort to harass and minimize Japan's whale hunt in the Antarctic has come to an end, as the activists have exhausted their fuel and drained their resources.

But it was an entertaining month-long, two-part episode. Tales of hurling rotten butter at the savage whale killers, if that's how you regard them. Blasting water cannons at the criminal eco-terrorists, if that's how you regard the activists.

There were vessel collisions, and the Japanese even lost a crewman overboard in a nonrelated incident.

Now Sea Shepherd's vessel, the Steve Irwin, is leaving antarctic waters and leaving the whalers to hunt minkes unopposed.

But Capt. Paul Watson boasts of having shut down whaling operations for one month and promises an even greater disruption effort next year, with a larger, faster vessel.

"We need to block those deadly harpoons, and we need to outrun these hunter killer ships and to do that, I need a ship that is as fast as they are, and I intend to get one and I intend to return next year," Watson said. "We will never stop intervening against their illegal whaling operations, and we will never stop harassing them, blockading them and costing them money.

"I intend to be their ongoing nightmare every year until they stop their horrific and unlawful slaughter of the great whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary."

And there are many who'll be pulling for Watson, just as some will be critical of the way he conducts business on the high seas. One thing's for sure, it's a compelling story.

-- Pete Thomas

Japanese whalers respond to exploding bottles of rotten butter, hurled by Sea Shepherd crew members from vessel Steve Irwin.

Top photo: Sea Shepherd crew in an inflatable boat harass Japanese factory whaling ship, the Nisshin Maru. Credit: Josh Gunn / Sea Shepherd

Bottom photo: Japanese whalers respond to exploding bottles of rotten butter, hurled by Sea Shepherd crew members from vessel Steve Irwin. Credit: Adam Lau / Sea Shepherd

 
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Comments (60)

I am a firm believer in conservation and do not believe there is any reason to harvest whales, in any form. I would be considered a pretty hard-core liberal.

I hold a 500 ton masters license and have for over 30 years. I have sailed over 100,000 miles, including solo trips across the Atlantic. With that said, I was stunned by what I saw in watching several episodes of "Whale Wars".

I consider the "captain" of the Steve Irwin to be inept, criminally negligent and arrogant. Regardless of his reasons, he and his ship have no right to impede the actions of another vessel. It matters not what he wishes to call his actions, they are acts of piracy, plain and simple.

To attempt to foul the propulsion of a ship at sea, especially in waters as dangerous as the Antarctic, shows his disregard for human life and his ignorance of his own responsibilities on the high seas.

To attack another ship in international waters, regardless of the material, is an act of piracy. To BOARD a ship at sea, without the permission of the ship's Captain is also an act of piracy. His own crewmembers stated this.

The captains of the whaling ships have the right to protect their ship and crew, through any means they deem necessary in an event such as those described and shown. That includes shooting people and even disabling the Irwin.

The Irwin crew is stunningly inept. Taking a dinghy into open waters, with night approaching, and not staying in contact is idiotic at best. Piloting into the side of a moving ship, playing with the bow wave is downright dangerous and stupid. Their skipper cannot even launch a dinghy without rolling it.

I place the actions of this group on the same level as those that bomb abortion clinics. I am stunned that Animal Planet would show this group of people that have little or no regard for human life on the pretense of saving the whales.

They are not eco-terrorists, they are criminal fools.

I think both sides are doing things that are wrong. The Japanese are abusing the policy of whaling for research by commercializing it. Watson is using a form of violence that only promotes more violence to the far left. Sooner or later people will die because of the extreme measures they will go to. Someone on either side will eventually use a weapon on a human and kill each other.

Why is it that when Sea Shepherd breaks the law and harasses japanese people that are just doing their jobs, they are hailed as "heros" but when people protest the killing and slaughter of innocent baby humans they are considered religous wackos and crazy? If a giant sea mammal has the right to live why not a tiny baby human?

I'm noticing several references to "illegal whaling" and "poaching" from people who parade the law around when it serves their interest and discard it when it does not. Regardless of how you feel about the whaling, are we not a civilized people of law and order? Will you lead your lesser by reducing your own behavior to his or her own level of lawlessness? We cannot simply afford ourselves unchecked authority to disregard the law or the safety of human lives when we feel upset about some goings-on somewhere. There are proper channels for affecting chenge in national and international policies and no one among us has the right to elevate theirself to such a high ground that they are above those channels set forth by We the People.

Sometimes one can be so right that one becomes wrong.

Thanks for hearing my piece.

Whites have hunted Whales to extinction - not the Japanese.

Japan's harbors were forced open at gun point by Admiral Perry of the United States inorder to facilitate trading posts for International Whaling ships. After shutting down Japanese claims to fishing resources in Alaska, the Japanese turned to Whaling Minke whales - Whales in abundance. They are NOT hunting the Whales to extinction - White whalers have done this.

These idiot "Sea Shepards" harass Japanese whaling fleets that don't impact whale populations. They even harass a Native American tribe that hunts 1 whale per year from a canoe following traditional hunting rituals.

I loathe seeing these White "Sea Shepard" faces dictating what Japanese and Natives can or can't hunt, when the Japanese and Natives are NOT hunting the whales to extinction. It was the WHITES who've done that to most of the whale species. It pisses me off, and I hope the Japanese just shoot every one of these idiots one day.

I thought they shoot "Pirates".... I guess not to bad....

Captain Bruce makes his observations from the comfort of his armchair. Inept as they may be, at least there are some people in the world who have the guts and tenacity to STAND UP FOR A CAUSE. OK so you're Mr Sea-Captain-with-experience. Maybe you need to navigate a cause bigger than your armchair.

Darn those immoral asians! We should just bomb all of them because eventually they'll revert to their militaristic ways as before, and try to force us all to eat whale..... Yup that was sarcasm and I figured with all the idiots along with people that actually have a brain have been able to post so why not me. Just for the record I do not eat whale but don't care if the Japanese do. This is on account for the fact that in the U.S. we still have cow farms with thousands of so called "caged animals" and I don't see any major shows about people protesting that. So the whale wars show to me is a bunch of dramatic babble that attracts, as I like to refer to them "Tree hugging hippies". There I have said my piece and angered many anti-whalers I hope. I'll bet I hear the squirrels and bears coming to get me right now out of anger at this affront to nature.


Many of you talk of breaking the law about what the Sea Shepphard has done. Just look at what they are dealing with JAPANESE the will actually eat anything! Like it isn't hard enough to survive you have a group of immoral asian people spearing a defensless mammal in the sea and using an excuse of research to do so. The United States has done enough over the years but we have been working on it and doing much better other than a handful of isolated cases. The Japanese just won't let it go so hopefully the Sea Shepphard can get an Ice Breaker and take out the whole fleet of whale killers then move on to the next assinment.
Jack in Las vegas

IM CAPT.BRUCE'S SON,I THINK THE CREW WERE COMPLETELY UNTRAINED AND HAD NO EXPERINCE ON THE WATER.I PERSONALY AM DISGUSTED ABOUT SOME OF THE THINGS THAT WERE SAID, AND TO GO TO WHIT WHAT MY DAD SAID ABOUT LAUNCHING THE CREW BOAT,THE 1ST MATE SHOULD HAVE HAD TIGHT TENTION ON THE BOW OF THE VESSEL TO KEEP IT FROM COMING LOOSE AND CAPSIZING AS IT DID.I THINK I HAVE MORE COMMON SENSE THEN SOME OF THE PEOPLE ON THE BOAT.THE ONLY PERSON I LIKED IN THE SHOW WAS THE DOCTOR.HE SAID THAT SOME OF THE STUFF WAS RIDICULOUS AND I 100 PERCENT AGREE.IF PEOPLE WERE THROWING OBJECTS AT MY BOAT,DONT YOU THINK I WOULD GET A LITTLE MAD?IT IS COMPLETE STUPIDITY. AND ONE MORE THING. THE CAPTIAN OF THE BOAT SAID THAT THE JAPANESE CREW HAD TAKEN TWO OF THE MEN HOSTAGE WHEN THEY BOARDED THE BOAT AT THERE OWN FREE WILL.THE CAPTIAN WAS CONTACTING THE AUSTRAILIAN COVERMENT THAT THEY HAD TWO OF THERE MEN WHEN THEY BOARED THE BOAT THEM SELVES. THE CAPTIANS PLAN WAS TO LET THEM GET TAKEN HOSTAGE SO THEY COULD HAVE THE GOVERMENT GET INVOLVED TOO.I PERSONALY THINK THEY ARE COMPLETELY STUPID AND HAVE NO COMMON SENSE.

MY SON AND I [HE IS 12] JUST FINISHED WATCHING THE LATEST EPISODES OF WHALE WARS AND I MUST SAY I HAVE NEVER WITNESSED A MORE INEPT AND ILL TRAINED CREW ON ANY VESSEL THAT I EITHER SERVED ON OR CAPTAINED. THEY ARE TRULY A DANGER TO THEMSELVES AND ANYONE ELSE AT SEA. AS FOR MY SON, HE POINTED OUT DOZENS OF MISTAKES ON THE PART OF THE CREW[?] NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH WAS THE LAUNCHING OF THE DELTA[ COMICAL SINCE NO LIVES WERE LOST] FOLLOWED BY THE ABSURD COMMENT FROM THE CAPTAIN THAT THEY ALMOST THE DELTA WITH NO MENTION OF ALL HANDS GOING IN THE WATER . THANK GOD THEY PLY WATERS WERE THERE ARE FEW OTHER VESSELS.

Has anyone asked the japanese to produce the research results? I want proof that the whalers are indeed doing something other than killing whales for meat consumption. I want to see evidence!

everone how thinks whaling still a place in this century is missing more then a few marbels. the japanese say they need to kill 900 whales for research? the show whale wars showed me that once agian mankin just loves to kill anything.

It may seem that few people care about the whales. I think most people, like myself, didn't realize that whaling was still going on. Had it not been for "Whale Wars", I would not have known. Now that I know, I'm avoiding Japanese products whenever possible.
It's despicable, not to mention illegal, that Japanese are exploiting whales purely for greed. There is no research being done. God bless the Sea Shepherds.

Paul Watson and his crazy cult ran like cowards after challenging the Japanese to "arrest him if they thought he was a terrorist or shut up". They called his bluff and he ran like a sissy straight into a search and seziure warrant served by the AFP. Canada just announced it is looking for a buyer for the former SSCS flagship Farley Mowat it confiscated last year and two of Watson's main stooges are due for a trial on April 27th on charges that could bring a $100,000fine and one year in jail. Australia may have to confiscate the Steve Irwin and sell it too because Watson is known to skip out on government imposed financial obligations. If that is the case the Sealers could buy the Farley Mowat and use it as a temporary seal pelt storage area and a Japanese Whale restaurant could buy the Steve Irwin as a floating sushi bar.

Let the whales live-M,
I think your comment about Japanese millitarism is absurd. I don't think I have explain why. Also, what was the pre-whaling whale population? And how far away are we from it? Are you saying once the population recovers, sustainable whaling will be acceptable?

Thanks

Robert A LeVangie,
I don't think people are in denial as you say. I think people just don't care enough about it, as harsh a reality it might be for you. Majority of the population in the world (in the US for that matter) is still human-centric, for a very good reason. There's just too much human suffering and struggle that saving animal is not a priority for many people. This is not to say that we should discredit those who selflessly devote themselves to the cause. But with the same token, you shouldn't either.

Just a general advise. as an anti-whaling activist, be more political in what you say. you need Japanese people's support. Japan has a deep pocket. With Japanese people supporting whaling only because they are offended, a few hundred less whales per year won't matter. The japanese government will keep fueling the industry until they completely lose Japanese people's support. Look at Australia and any other anti-whaling European nations, they all were pro-whaling at one point (in a very recent history).

Peace

The destruction of the whale population in the southern oceans is absurd--I do not agree with commercial whaling and I am one of those gullible people who will make a donation to stop the whaling--I find the dispatch of a paramilitary vessel (Taiyo Maru #38) by the Japanese government to directly engage the Steve Irwin as a reminder that Japan still has the potential for militarism as it did a century ago regardless of a pacificistic constitution--I hope that Japan will allow the whales to live in peace and find more worthwhile activities to pursue--The scientific research gained by killing whales is practically nil, but people are making a profit from the whale meat served in restaurants and bars---Allow the whales to recover to pre-whaling populations--imagine the planet without a blue whale or even a minke whale--a sad day!

I was engineer mechanic through 20,000 miles of often rough seas in defense of the marine habitat not because it was fun but because I thought it necessary to see this planet go on with some semblance of biodiversity. I believe in the captain and trust his judgement as the one person who is most dedicated to saving whales and has single handedly done more for whales and dolphins than anyone on this planet. We're aware there will always be nay sayers, dock side opinionators who are entitled to their opinions but I bet most never spent as much time on a ship as us and have seen so many thousands of miles of dead sea. I have to question people against our actions as maybe just simply excusing their own inaction somehow and want here to ask if they still think denial is still just a river.


I thought maybe a voice from Japanese person might be interesting to you online posters. This is my take on the whole situation of whaling / anti-whaling conflict.

Most Japanese people are (or were) indifferent about whether society / government endorses whaling. If anything, till recently, most people were starting to sympathize with conservationists due to the increasing awareness of environmentalism.

But with extreme activists like Sea Shepherd being on the scene, this trend is starting to truly reverse. Many Japanese people are offended by the actions of and remarks made by Sea Shepherd (understandably. if you don't understand it, try putting yourself in their shoe. if you still don't understand it, then you have no hope, sorry) Those who were neutral on the issue now support whaling with a newly born sense of national pride. Even those who were starting to support anti-whaling is being drawn back to supporting whaling only because they are so offended.

*From here, it's just my speculation, so read it for your entertainment only*

Sea Shepherd definitely did a great job re-vitalizing a dying industry by provoking national pride in the heart of many Japanese people. Good Job. Now, this "whale war" will continue on. Japanese government will have easier time spending Japanese tax payers money on whale industry to keep this "research" going for a long long time. In the wake of extreme economy crisis, this industry probably would have not survived in Japan, but now it will continue on, thanks to the great effort of sea shepherd "conservation" effort.

Enough sarcasm,

Anyways,

Just like my earlier post said, my position is pretty clear. Whaling is OK as long as it's sustainable. And if "research" is needed to assertain the impact of controlled whaling, so be it.

It's almost like converting someone into a new religion... you can't use force, you can't use torture, and you definitely can not throw butyric acid at their face.

On another side note, it would be pretty funny if Paul Watson took a bath in butyric acid to prove how harmless it is. They should totally do that and air it on whale wars. It would be very convicing that they are using "safe" but aggressive means of protest. One more suggestion is, since Japanese whalers (and many others) think butyric acid is harmful not only to humans but also to marine ecosystem, Sea Shepherd should stop using it and switch to throwing human waste and air it on whale wars. I can promise you, if they did that, no Japanese person will ever want to eat whale meat. Just a tip.

Peace :)

MSDS are prepared for workers involved in industry and laboratories who have regular contact with industrial strength chemicals typically in an enclosed environment with little ventilation. In the open sea with a good stiff breeze or ocean winds butter acid will at best cause minor skin and eye irritation. Please refrain from over dramatising Sea Shepherds use of stink bombs and inference that Sea Shepherd caused the fire onboard the Nisshin Maru. The whalers are just crying 'victim' and 'acid' as they do not like the fact that they are losing money through the inability to butcher whales for days due to the awful stench, and contamination of whale meat rendering it unsuitable for sale.

Among numerous other violations of international conservation law relating to Antarctica, and whales, including Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species, the whaling fleet are in further violation of the Antarctic Treaty by refuelling ship to ship in the Antarctic whale sanctuary, and dumping of blood and offal. Read the Madrid Protocol and it's Annexes (Antarctic Treaty) for more violations.

Let me guess Dan.
Your one of those kind hearted animal loving canadians that can only make a living by doing the governments dirty work by bashing the heads defenseless seals with clubs (or shovels, as per the recent conviction of a sealer) just so you can over fish the seas and then blame the seal population for the loss of this (apparently, expendable resource), and if you are not a sealer then I assume you sympathise with the sealers and are just sore, as the SSCS not only care about the whales so far from your native home, but also the seals that are on your doorstep, where they are also involved with the defense of species.
So, will you be wearing some 'fashionable' clothes items made from freshly bludgeoned seal pups while you enjoy your whale sushi?

thank god i live in Canada....clearly most of you Americans support terrorists as much as the iraqis you pretend to hate. I hope you are all negetarians who hate america...and if so why dont you hop on board paul watsons little self indulgent world called the sea shepherd...if you would die for a whale then the world is happy not to have you...7 billion more where they come from and we can all enjoy a little whale sushi!

Captain Paul Watson and his crew are eco-HEROES who are putting their lives on the line to end this barbaric practice and uphold the law. The Japanese are commercial whaling under the guise of research which is ILLEGAL. You think they're sending that huge fleet down there and spending millions just for research? As long as Sea Shepherd keeps harassing these criminals, I will be right there to support them.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you Sea Shepherd.

To Brian | February 09, 2009 at 10:13 PM
Brian, thank you for the info.

To Sam | February 10, 2009 at 01:03 PM

Sam, you can get a Saruman’s crystal ball on eBay for less than $30. BTW, eBay does not sell the Nisshinmaru accident report 2007, the stink bomb, or the rotten butter and it’s MSDS.

I had enough Sarcasm here, so let’s put a period here.

I understand that Mr. Watson is doing his business in Antarctica waters because he believes that Minke whales are endangered.

Now, key question is how many Minke whales are out there?

I could not find the number on Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) websites, so please let me know the URL when you find one.

The estimates of Minke whales vary between, 510,000 -760,000 in Southern hemisphere according to International Whaling Commission (IWC) and other sources.

IWC sets the number of samples for the Scientific whaling to be around 0.1% of the total population and the annual increase of the whale population is greater according to the Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR).

As Milke B. commented on Pete’s previous post on Feb6,2009, The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) does not consider Minke whales are threatened.

SSCS needs to show solid scientific data that supports it’s opinion in order to convince people, not questionable behaviors.

P.S. About the comments on Pete‘s “Whale war between Japan and Sea Shepherd becomes increasingly confrontational Feb6,2009 ”, I found it quite interesting. I wish I can witness more discussion between SSCS members and Japanese people. It will give me more insights for sure.

FACT:

7,000,000,000 (7 BILLION) Humans on planet Earth.

A few hundred to a few hundred thousand whale (depending on species).

Game over. Humans win, Earth loses!

Humans are self-important, we are PART of life on the planet, we are OF the planet, and we do NOT own the right to destroy anything that we want just because we want!

Grow UP! Only children demand their toys and cookies right now without thinking of the ultimate ramifications of their actions. "I want it NOW! "

We are CARETAKERS of the earth if we are anything. We need to protect what is wild because whatever created this planet sure as hell didn't put US on here to destroy it all!

Non-caring humans GET A LIFE!
For the MAJORITY of us humans that CARE, congratulations!

ps. by-the-way, there is a good chance that those commenting on this story are Japanese whaling proponents trying to influence the influence-able.

 

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