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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)

In a post by Fred, he claims the following;

"Butyric acid is...combustible... (... Japanese crewman lost his life by fire in 2007 on the mother ship Nisshin Maru)."

For Fred to make this association by suggesting that Butyric acid caused the fire on board the Nisshin Maru, is an outright lie! the Japanese have stated that this fire had nothing to do with any confrontation! Pure lies!

"Butyric acid is hazardous (it can burn your skin and eyes)..."

Its a skin irritant Fred, get over it!

"SSCS may be making the acid from the rotten butter (After looking at photos and videos from the both sides, I doubt it though. It is much easier to buy the acid like that), but I have a big problem calling the acid as just “rotten butter”.

Fred, you actually don't know anything factual, you just keep assuming. Can I have a crystal ball like yours?

Fred continues; "I did NOT find the show funny at all. SSCS has been risking human lives on Antarctic waters. If SSCS returns with a larger ship, most likely someone will be killed."

Hey Fred I think you missed the point of the documentary, it's NOT supposed to be funny!
Also, Captain Watson said he was getting a FASTER ship, NOT a larger one! And I guess we could all assume that someone "most likely" will die on Southern Cal freeways this week! Thanks for a look into your crystal ball!

There seems to be some concern from poacher lovers that the bad guys might get hurt from the 'acid' trip.

Lemme tell you from first hand experience aboard a SSCS campaign. All butyric acid does is stink. Aboard the Farley Mowat a bottle had broken and it stank up half the ship. The people who handled it got it on themselves. Even Cap'n Watson got some on his self. It was smelly but we all had a good laugh and nobody had their skin eaten off. The stink bombs as used for anti-whaling operations are intended to foul up the whale meat making it unsellable.

So if a bunch of animal conservationist are tough enough for the stink bombs then it is perfectly good for poachers.

To those who claim that the SSCS are just doing this for the ratings I would like to remind you that the SSCS has been doing this for years. Long before it became cool.

For a good background on the SSCS look up Mr. Watson first anti-whaling campaign against the Soviet Union's whaling stations back in the early 1980's.

I feel strongly opposed to what the Japanese are doing, and saddened that the only people who are trying to stop them are Sea Shepherd.
Good luck to the crew of the Steve Irwin, and rotten tomatoes to all those governments who sat around and did nothing.
I'll continue to support SS until there is a better alternative. Right now, they're the only people who actually make a difference to the number of whales being killed.

Throwing any substance into any waters, not least Antarctic waters, is banned! So, the crew of the Steve Irwin appear t be breaking one law in order to uphold another.

So after burning up two tanks of fossil fuel in the high seas, Sea Shepherd has enough footage for another season of Whale Wars, and decides to go home. New season of the show should get enough gullible people out there to donate enough money so he can burn through a few more tanks of fossil fuel in the next few years.
With Watson leaving, the whales are screwed for the rest of this whaling season. I guess I'll be enjoying whale meat in the sushi bars on my next trip to Japan this year.

What's so "evil" about whaling?

It definitely doesn't look like japanese whaling industry is over-fishing whales like the Europeans and Americans did when whaling was an essential part of the western economy.

To me, if whales can be harvested in a sustainable manner, I'm OK with it. If "research" is needed to assertain what level of commercial whaling can be sustainable (i believe that's what japanese mean when they say "research" which I also think is consistent with IWC's original intention.) If you think "research" only means publishing papers in scientific journals, I guess it's waste of time to convince you otherwise.

I'd be interested to know though, on average how many people in the US actually care about this. (that is having a strong opinion one way or the other)

With all of that said, I guess I don't really care whether they ban or continue whaling. It would be sad though, if whales actually go extinct (or any species for that matter, intelligent or not)

Sorry for the random rant. Have fun :)

I will not be deceived into believing Butyric acid is "rotten butter". Butyric acid *can* be produced from rotting butter, but not in the strength that would make the ambient air hard to breathe and sting my eyes - normally, it simply smells bad. I would also find it hard to believe that Watson buys butter to rot it in the hull of his ship; he's probably buying lab-grade Butyric in a barrel because it's cheaper. He's just telling us it's "rotten butter" to ward off the stigma of chemical-burn molotov cocktails. BTW - Butyric acid is flammable at around 2-10% airborne concentrations. Not a problem except its vapor is heavier than air, and tends to settle into the holds of the ships.

It's not the *type* of acid that makes it "harmless" - it's the *concentration*. Stomach acid is 1% Hydrochloric acid, and vomit (although disgusting) is harmless to the touch. The FAA tested a 747 with 38% strength Hydrochloric. It burned a hole through the fuselage skin in 47 minutes ( http://www.tc.faa.gov/its/worldpac/techrpt/artn97-108.pdf ).

Setting aside the idea of acid percentages, if I threw a bottle of 75% Hydrochloric and said "it's the same acid you find in vomit", would it be as believable as Watson's "it's the same acid produced from rotting butter" description of Butyric?

What's the percentage of acid in his bottles? The very fact that they throw (glass) bottles rather than use a high-pressure water cannon to hose the deck tells me that it's concentrated enough that no one on the ship wants to risk any sprayback. Sooner or later, someone will get seriously hurt or blinded from this junk, and that's (hopefully) something that is not intended.

If Watson is going to throw stuff onto the whalers' decks, he should set aside the smooth talk and simply use tear gas. But, if he did that, I guess he wouldn't look as heroic on camera.

japanese are cruel to beatiful wildlife

A little detail here: Members of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) are throwing bottles of Butyric acid.

Here is the Material Safety Data Sheet(MSDS) for Butyric acid
http://www.sciencelab.com/xMSDS-Butyric_acid-9923216

Butyric acid is hazardous (it can burn your skin and eyes), corrosive (it can eat into the metals, but not so reactive) and combustible chemical (please note that Japanese crewman lost his life by fire in 2007 on the mother ship Nisshin Maru).

SSCS may be making the acid from the rotten butter (After looking at photos and videos from the both sides, I doubt it though. It is much easier to buy the acid like that), but I have a big problem calling the acid as just “rotten butter”.

I did NOT find the show funny at all. SSCS has been risking human lives on Antarctic waters. If SSCS returns with a larger ship, most likely someone will be killed.

P.S. first aid for Butyric acid from MSDS

Eye Contact:
Check for and remove any contact lenses. In case of contact, immediately flush eyes with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes. Cold water may be used. Get medical attention.

Skin Contact:
In case of contact, immediately flush skin with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes while removing contaminated clothing and shoes. Cover the irritated skin with an emollient. Cold water may be used. Wash clothing before reuse. Thoroughly clean shoes before reuse. Get medical attention immediately.

Serious Skin Contact:
Wash with a disinfectant soap and cover the contaminated skin with an anti-bacterial cream. Seek immediate medical attention.

Inhalation:
If inhaled, remove to fresh air. If not breathing, give artificial respiration. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen. Get medical attention.

Serious Inhalation:
Evacuate the victim to a safe area as soon as possible. Loosen tight clothing such as a collar, tie, belt or waistband. If breathing is difficult, administer oxygen. If the victim is not breathing, perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

WARNING: It may be hazardous to the person providing aid to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when the inhaled material is toxic, infectious or corrosive. Seek immediate medical attention.

Captain Paul Watson does not boast,he does not need to because his actions speak for themselves. The violence in Antartica is soley on the Japanese side starting with the bloody illegal slaughter of endangered whales and the shocking methods that were used against the protesters this year. Why Governments and Greenpeace are so afraid to confront the Japanese can only be explained by their mighty economic power!

 

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