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Japanese whaling fleet combats Sea Shepherd activists in Antarctic


The war over whaling is back on in the Antarctic, where the Japanese fleet apparently has begun to aggressively oppose Sea Shepherd Conservation Society crews trying to disrupt efforts to kill whales.

Sea Shepherd claims two crew members were injured during a Sunday confrontation: one by a high-powered water cannon and the other by a hurled metal ball that struck him in the face. Sea Shepherd also accused the whalers of using a "military-grade" acoustic weapon.

The whalers claimed they were merely trying to repel activists who hurled bottles of rotten butter or paint aboard their ship.

Said Sea Shepherd in a statement posted on its website: "The factory ship the Nisshin Maru and the two harpoon vessels in the fleet are equipped with long-range acoustical devices. This is a military grade weapon system that sends out mid to high frequency sound waves designed to disorient and possibly incapacitate personnel."

Japan reportedly has asked embassies in Australia and New Zealand as well as the Netherlands, the nationality of Sea Shepherd's ship -- to work toward preventing a similar incident.

Glenn Inwood, a spokesman for Japan's government-backed Institute of Cetacean Research, was quoted by Australia's national AAP news agency as saying "all legal means available will be used to ensure these pirates do not board Japanese ships or threaten the lives of the crews or the safety of the vessels."


Sea Shepherd Capt. Paul Watson said Sunday's confrontation was successful in that it prevented more whales from being killed.

"It is a very dramatic scene out here as ships zig-zag back and forth in thick ice and heavy swells," Watson said in a statement. "The whalers are deploying water cannons, concussion grenades, acoustic weapons, and throwing solid brass and lead balls at Sea Shepherd crew members.

"If we were to do any of the things these thugs are doing, we would be denounced as eco-terrorists. There certainly is a double standard where whale killers can use violence without fear of condemnation from their government and we can't even defend ourselves without condemnation from our governments."

Japan annually targets about 1,000 minke whales using a "lethal research" loophole in a 1986 global moratorium on commercial whaling.

--Pete Thomas

Photos courtesy of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

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Comments (43)

Has it never occurred to anyone that the Sea Shepard is just one ship and operation? Watching the show, they seem like a bunch of clowns.
Hypothetically, standing in the Japanese whaler's shoes, what would i do?
I've got a whaling fleet. I've go these nutcases potentially becoming a real danger. I should equip and set up one ship to keep the Sea Shepard busy. Hey, let's make sure we send them some hints as to where our designated ship is located. They'll keep them nutcases busy while the rest of our fleet does it's thing. Is that so far fetched?
Sigh, anyway, i'm totally against whaling BUT what Japan is doing is technically legal, as messed up as it is. Watching the show, it's pretty obvious that what they're doing is pretty dangerous. They keep on redirecting everything at the Japanese whalers as if they are dangerous. We need to remember that it's the eco-nuts who are responsible for the engagements. It's going overboard and it's intended to promote good TV. Read this again.
This is for GOOD FRIKKIN TV to promote their nutcase of a captain. That's the impression i keep on getting.
To accomplish the same thing, they could simply follow the whalers until they target whales. It takes very little to make sure the whalers are unable to do any actual whaling until the whale/s move on. BUT that's boring tv.
I'll give the show one thing. It's gotten the whole whale issue more visibility. I'm not totally convinced it puts the Sea Shepard in a good light though. Most people who straddle the line will just see a bunch of incompetent eco-terrorists. I'm a greenie myself but the show makes the Japanese seem sympathetic at times and that's just plain bad for the cause.

Look, you guys "Save the Whales, Save the snails, save the trees, save the bee's, Save the Planet.....Ha. You dopey fools can't save anything. The sea shepard bullies are just that, bullies. Paul Watson should be hung up by his Buster Browns. Those sea shepard fools are just monkeys. Monkeys interfering with the "Lawful" work of the Japanese Whalers. Hey why don't we "Save the Cows" Well might makes right. We have cows being butchered for food and a hundred other products we all use....Yes we all use. Just because the whales can't speak for themselves, just remember that Cows can't either. Neither can Deer, chickens, Possum or any other ANIMAL. Heck dogs and cats are food to, vietnamese. AND we kill PEOPLE too.....they can speak for themselves and when they speak they say, NO MORE OBAMA. But he isn't listening!

i think the whaleing fleet shoud stop because there becoming extinct that is bad cuz buetiful animals r dieing

Whales are highly intelligent creatures like elephants capable of feelings and emotion including loss, pain, mortality.

I would pay to see the film of Paul Watson and all of his rich kids boat's be sunk by the Japanese navy and thrown in Japanese jails for about 30 years...

Paul Watson is nothing but a terrorist......

i would try to stop the whalers too.!!! i highly think the government should do something more. , or maybe even the president. because the japanese can not hunt for whales in our waters... any more. it is just too sad and i can not imagine what the whales have to go through. atlease eat some other kind of meat instead of whale meat..

Paul Watson is a murderer and a terrorist. He belongs in prison. He invented the act of tree spiking and has publicly stated that he would be very happy if half the human race dies.

The films from whale wars should be enought proof that the whales that are murdered by the Japanese whalers are NOT for research!! To see them actually kill a whale is heart breaking.
Gail Erickson
Long Beach, CA

I have to say I am an environmentalist but I don't agree with what the Sea Shepherd is doing. They aren't preventing the Japanese from killing whales as is proved on this season of Whale Wars. If they want to stop the Japanese they need to petition the IWC to change it's regulations to prevent them from using the "research" loop hole.

dude Dan shut the heck up. if u dont have anything nice to say dont say anything at all. if u think its such a comedy why the frick are you watching it? your a jerk and its ppl like you who kill whales in the first place. u should be aboard one of those japanese ships trying to harm every single crew member on the Steve Irwin. sure they make mistakes, but in the end their saving whales from being eaten by ppl like you. you say that they are acting "legally", how in the world could you think that? how would you like it if something much larger than yourself hunted you down and u couldnt do anything about it?? all you could do was try to run away and then all of a sudden your speared through with a harpoon? then just like that your dead and being served at a restaurant. what a horrible way to die. u may not think that what the Sea Shepards are doing is right or its comical to watch their show, but id like to see u try and do better.

I hope to see on one of the TV episodes the ship Sea Shepard sunk and the people inside it ride home happily on the whales backs because the whales are so happy to have been saved. Perhaps they can then be picked up by unicorns on shore and ridden to their homes and all given lucky charms by grateful leprechauns.

Seriously tho I hope their ship gets sunk, they are nothing more than terrorists who act like pirates. I love to watch when a whale gets skewered and is prepped for some tasty sushi, you see the crew of the Sea Shepard all teary eyed and crying like little babies. Its the funniest thing in the whole show.

I think the Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin should be turned over to the Japanese Coast Guard and each and every one of the crew especially the captain should be held as terrorist and face the full justice they deserve. There is no room for vigilante justice. I feel that the Japanese are in their rights to sink the Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin if they continue to use terrorist actions on the high seas.

What a load, the “International anti Whaling act” is only valid for the U.S. The Sea Shepard crew are technically pirating when attaching other ships, even if it is only stink bombs. I would not mind seeing them get sunk for their illegal acts. I would love to see Japan hire a security force that understands the boundaries and set them strait.

Get mad, the U.S. May not rely on whaling, but that does not mean others do not. The point is these activists overstep their bounds by creating publicity while ignoring laws.

Japan, sink these guys since they are pirates acting illegally in international waters. Look at the facts 20 yards out of us they are open game!!

One of these days, this group of busy bodies is going to push their luck - and they are going to act completely surprised when the Japanese or some other culture that does not have to live with or put up with the ridiculous antics of sycophantic eco-vegans decides to sink their ship and rid themselves of these pests.

These douche bags intentionally tried to scare the whaling ship into thinking they were about to rammed, and when the Japanese responded with sonic deterrents and hoses, they - the moonbats - had the raw nerve to protest that the they were acting "aggressive" for no valid reason!

They are LUCKY that all they had turned on them is water hoses or sonic weapons. If I was engaged in a totally legal activity at sea and a group of uppity moonbats started threatening either my livelihood or ship, I would forcibly board the vessel with weapons, scuttle their ship and bring them back to my home country bound and beaten before trying them for committing crimes on the high sea. That's only if I'm feeling charitable, otherwise I would sink their ship and leave them all for dead. It was some years back that the French got tired of Greenpeace and their happy horseshit and sent armed commandos to deal with the hemped up loons on board their Rainbow Warrior.

If you don't like whaling - do what you did in this country and try to change people's minds and seek government change in legislation and law. You don't act like a bunch of lunatics trying to scare and threaten other vessels filled with people trying to earn a living. I don't like the thought of whales dying for their meat and blubber, but I dislike these people a lot more.

I would love to hit the lottery and buy an old icebreaker ship. I would fix it up, contact the Japanese to find out when their fleet would be in Antartica, and sign a contract to protect them, for $1.00.

I would then wait on the Steve Irwin and ram it. Let us see how these bullies like being in the cold water, and have the fear of being under attack like their previous victims. I hate bullies and self righteous people. These guys qualify in the first degree.

What would the world be like without the so called tree hugging hippies. You go guys & gals, its because of you that not all is gone. Luv & Peace 2 ya all

I think the Japanese should hire retired SBS and SEALS to serve on ships like the Nisshin Maru. it'd be hilarious to see the hippies with their brains splattered all over the bulkheads in back of them.

Save the whales - Kill the Sea Shepperds

hello my name is Belinda I'm from mexico and I am really outraged a lot whaling because they are creatures that are helpless before the hunters of the Yushin Maru stupid, I think they are cowards to kill so as to innocent creatures them as helpless.
But so should include those of a shepherd, because they are fleeing to get to see the boat? Know why? Because they are a coward chickens....


we will hunt the Japanese!!!

Paul Watson and all the members of the Sea Shepherd Society have successfully carried off a hugely impactful anti-whaling program - the biggest aspect of which is using direct action to keep the issue in world view. Compared to 20+ years ago when I listened to Paul Watson give a talk at university, people are far more educated and polarised against whaling. When the inevitable, permanent, complete moratorium on whaling is accomplished, it'll be in no small part due to their long efforts. They all deserve Nobel prizes for their work.

some of these comments against sea shepheard are completley false even though yes they admit they are aggressive... the iwc in the past few years not to hunt whales in the antartic for research but then does nothing to enforce there suggestions. japan is acting more and more aggresive on the sea and should be stopped... Nobody here realy even mentions that they are in violation of law by refuiling ships in antartic water. having meat shipped from iceland and the actual shippin of meat to japan wich is illegal under cities.. go sea shepheard but dont drop to the level with the lrads im sure they probably affect the whales many times more than us

The Japanese are not doing research. They are killing whales for food. Their escalation in this incident is a new level of violence that will eventually lead to someone getting seriously injured or killed.

It does not matter if it is Whaler or Anti-Whaler. Japan will be the loser. The moment someone dies will be the last time I buy any products from Japan. They have no respect for international law and their new tactics of aggression against the people who are protesting is wrong.

If they kill a protester by using high pressure water lines and knocking them into the water, I would never condemn the return of deadly force against the Japanese. They will deserve it!

Andre from Sacto,

"BS"? Is it your contention that I have posted false or incorrect information?
No species of whales are currently extinct. The commercial whaling that drove whales to the brink of extinction was done primarily for whale oil, not for food. Scientific whaling is legal under IWC regulations. IWC regulations also require that whales killed for research be utilized and not wasted. The U.S. is hunting endangered Bowhead whales. The ICR website does have a Q&A section with much useful information. Do you have information that refutes these facts?

Dear Mick,

Thanks for the BS. I do regularly go to the Cetacean Research website as my belief in animal conservation derives from logic and not emotional irrationalism. Thus, I am required to analyze all sides of any argument. However, I cannot find any real research papers on this site. Curious as this is a scientific research expedition right? There is certainly nothing on their that justifies their current hunting of endangered Fin whales. Everyone agrees that Fin Whales are endangered. The IWC (of which Japan is a signatory member) issued a whaling moratorium for this reason. However, Japan just ups and decides that it will start hunting them again. And if they happen to make a profit from this? Well they just say its just a by-product of scientific whaling. If you cannot see this as a forced loophole then further discussion with you is pointless.

The SSCS does not have much money (especially compared to Greenpeace), or much in the way of training, or equipment. However, it does have dedicated volunteers who will put it all on the line for animal conservation. The poachers, whalers, and the taunters on the blogs can never have that dedication. Thus, they will fail.

Has anyone ever asked the Japanese for the results of all their "scientific research", including sample sizes and peer reviewed publication references (i.e. called their bluff)? After all this time they must have discovered some important information (apart from whale meat tastes nice)?

I think the activists are quite right about double standards, but it wouldn't be the first time companies / governments / media have been hypocritical. As the whalers have already shown a propensity towards violence (harpooning whales), I am not greatly surprised by their behaviour.



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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.