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Sea Shepherd's frustrated Capt. Paul Watson lashes out at Australia


The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's planned mission this winter against the Japanese whaling effort has hit a snag because Capt. Paul Watson and his first officer are experiencing visa issues and so far are not being allowed into Australia.

Outposts reported on this Monday. Australia is the strategic point of departure for Sea Shepherd, which annually hunts and harasses the Japanese harpoon and factory vessels as their crews seek to kill minke whales in the Antarctic region during its summer.

Watson claims politics are behind the stringent visa requirements he's being asked to comply with and on Tuesday posted a letter on the Sea Shepherd website blasting Australia's government for its stance on whaling and for trying to "sabotage" the Sea Shepherd campaign.

Here's the controversial captain's letter:

By Captain Paul Watson

Way back in October 2007, I had urged thousands of Australians to vote for Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett’s Labor Party. Why? Because they promised to get tough on illegal Japanese whaling. They promised to take Japan to court. They promised to send a ship down to the Southern Ocean to monitor the illegal activities. They had severely criticized the former Howard government for not doing enough.

Since then Rudd and Garrett have demonstrated that they have done far less for the whales than former Environment Minister Ian Campbell had done.

Under Campbell, Australia was the toughest voice at the annual meetings of the International Whaling Commission. Under Garrett, the whales have become a very minor concern. Under Campbell, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was given encouragement and support.

Under Garrett, we have been disparaged, and now we are being harassed as the Rudd government seeks to sabotage Sea Shepherd efforts to defend the whales.Peter Garrett does not want our ship the Steve Irwin to return to the Southern Ocean in December. Why? Because the government of Japan has requested that the Australian government intervene to prevent us from returning to the Southern Oceans.

Legally, they can’t stop the Steve Irwin from departing for the Antarctic coast but it appears they believe they have found a way to sabotage our mission.


And thus I, and my first officer, Peter Hammarstedt of Sweden, have had our visas to enter Australia canceled and our new applications denied. My Bosun, Dan Bebawi of the U.K. was ordered off his plane at London Heathrow and was told that his visa was no longer valid. After a week and an expensive re-issue of his ticket, he was given a limited visa.

The story is not so simple for Peter Hammarstedt and I.

The Immigration department is now demanding that Peter and I provide police reports from Norway, Canada, and the United States in order to proceed further on the visa application. Once these reports are received, we will be informed of additional requirements.

In other words, they will make us jump through bureaucratic hoops for months if need be to prevent us from re-joining our ship in Australia.

I do not have a single felony conviction on my record from any nation in the world. There is not a single warrant out for my arrest. Japan has not pressed charges. Our flag nation of the Netherlands has not charged us with anything. I have entered and reentered Australia dozens of times without incident, but now only a few weeks after Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith was given an ultimatum by Japan to stop Sea Shepherd, Peter Hammarstedt and I have found that our return to our own ship has been blocked without any reason given.

This year our campaign has been named Operation Waltzing Matilda in recognition of the fact that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has received overwhelming support from the people of Australia.

Australia has been our base for operations against Japan’s illegal whaling operations since 2005 and Australians have demonstrated that Australia is the most passionate nation on Earth when it comes to defending the great whales from the illegal and viciously cruel whaling activities of the Japanese whaling fleet.

Unfortunately, this support from the people for the whales is not reflected in the actions of the government of Australia.

The Rudd government has turned its back on all the “get tough on whaling promises” they made before the election and has now become more submissively loyal to the demands of the Japanese government than to the concerns of the Australian people that elected them.

The Steve Irwin left Brisbane this month on a tour of Australia to raise support for Operation Waltzing Matilda. Under the command of Dutch captain Alex Cornelissen, the ship is presently berthed at Circular Quay in Sydney across from the Sydney Opera House.

The Steve Irwin is scheduled to visit Melbourne and Hobart before reaching Fremantle, the port where the ship will depart in December for the coast if Antarctica.

Unfortunately, I cannot be onboard my own ship during this tour until a visa is granted, something that was simply routinely granted prior to last month. I am now being informed by the Australian Visa office that this “harassment” is routine. They need to establish that I am of “good character” prior to issuing a visa.

Of course, the Australian Federal Police could and most likely already have obtained all the records on me that they require. Despite this, I need to spend hundreds of dollars and weeks of time tracking down the police reports on my “character.”

Strangely enough, I have found that it is easier to get a police report if you have an actual criminal record than if you have no record at all. Since I have never been convicted of any crime in the United States, I have been told that I need an F.B.I. report saying that I have never been convicted of any crime in the United States. This requires being fingerprinted and filling out a lengthy report requesting a document stating that no police criminal record exists. If this is considered “routine” then no one would be visiting Australia at all.

Japan is mobilizing every bureaucratic measure they can to prevent us from engaging their whale poaching fleet this year. They are leaning on the Dutch government to strike our flag. They are leaning on the Australian government to intervene. They have made requests of the United States and Canada to prevent Sea Shepherd and I from continuing our efforts to defend the whales.

Despite this, we are on target for departure for early December and I will be there, visa or no visa. Peter Hammarstedt will also be there. No power short of a bullet will prevent us from returning to the Southern Ocean in December to once again cut the illegal Japanese quota in half and to negate their illicit profits.

Operation Waltzing Matilda is on target and with the Steve Irwin joined this year by the Earthrace, we will mount the most ambitious and most aggressive effort to date to obstruct the slaughter of the whales in the Southern Ocean.

Steve irwin

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is organizing a petition drive of Australians to support the character requirements for Peter Hammarstedt and myself.

We have less than two months to secure the visas to allow us to take command of the only ship in the world that can save the lives of hundreds of defenseless and endangered whales in the Southern Ocean.

I am confident that the Australian people will send their voice to Canberra to support us and the whales. Rudd and Garrett need to be reminded that it was not the Japanese whalers who voted them into power, it was Australian citizens, and Australians want the bloody slaughter in the Southern Ocean ended.

-- Pete Thomas

Top photo: Sea Shepherd crew member Laurens De Groot hurls a bottle of butyric acid at a Japanese harpoon whaling ship. Credit Adam Lau/Sea Shepherd

Middle photo of Paul Watson by Eric Chang/Sea Shepherd

Bottom photo of Sea Shepherd's flagship vessel, the Steve Irwin, by Adam Lau/Sea Shepherd

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Comments (21)

HA HA HA! Cry poor little sea shepherds. I hope Japan has a record year and your amazing ineptitude continues. I still like watching that episode where they kill and haul that whale aboard the boat right in front of the SS lol. Classic.

Mike: I wept with a heavy heart as I read your description of the horrific suffering and pain inflicted on the innocent victims. I also wept (with uncontrollable weeping) as I saw the whales being driven,murdered and tortured by the Japanese vessels. I wrote a letter to Captain Paul Watson and explained that the battle is getting up close and personal between the Steve Irwin and the Japanese vessels. I believe the last epsiode where they rammed into them; did cost Paul repercussions that are now backfiring for his future goals.
In a nutshell, I reminded him that this issue of illegal wahaling has never been proven in a court of law (as evidenced in the opening comment of the program). I believe that Paul's victory can be won in a court of law. The "research label" is a ruse of the Japanese that will not hold up in court if it were tried.This is commercial fishing: pure and simple. I believe that if a group of competant lawyers and legal advisers challenged Japan in a court of law, this battle to save the dieing off population of some of the most intelligent creatures in the world would be won. I am a Christian and am praying for the preservation of the whales to prevail in a court of law.
God bless you all....Roberta Marie

"There is not a single warrant out for my arrest." Hahaha...that's a crock. I know of at least one place where he has a warrant.

@ Mike

How about you replace the horses with cows. Whales are just swimming piles of meat waiting to be collected, cooked, and eaten. While conservation is important there is no reason to bring morality into the issue. Animals lack natural rights because they are, get this, animals. There is no human activity other than respiration that does not harm another form of life in some form or another so my advice to people who feel that radicals like the Sea Shepherds are justified is to go sit alone in a dark room.

What's all this rubbish about Paul Watson standing up against the "arrogance of humanity"? That man's head is so big that it's the only planet he lives on or acknowledges: PLANET PAUL à la WATSON EGO.

Taking a stand against arrogance for him would be like reversing the law of gravity.


From Sandi Logan's post:
“Though Mr Watson may have previously visited Australia as a tourist, the visa required for that type of visit is quite different to that for a short-term business visit, which is what is required for his forthcoming trip."

I guess that on top of the speaking engagements and donation rallies, bringing a for-profit group (Animal Planet) onto the ship now makes filming it a business venture. I seriously doubt that Animal Planet gets to ride for free; every AP cameraman on board removes one activist crewmember; AP employees are not allowed to participate in the protest, only record it. Although SSCS probably takes the pay-out as a 'donation', it's still viewed as money paid for services rendered (hauling the camera crew around the Antarctic). SSCS Antarctica stopped being a non-profit the moment Whale Wars became a cash cow for Animal Planet, and their relationship with SSCS is viewed as a business partnership, resulting in the need for a business visa.

If Watson has a clean record as he states, I don't see what the big problem is. It's still standard procedure for most countries to have you verify you are not a criminal when applying for a business visa, and Watson has over two months to get it processed. I would expect that Watson would simply fill out the paperwork and get the visa, then tout that he once again overcame yet another obstacle. Watson came across to me as a little bit whiney - not exactly the unyielding pirate that he portrays himself to be.

Dept Immigration and Citizenship media release
Canberra, Australia

16 October 2009

Paul Watson visa application

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship today rejected claims it was delaying processing of a visa application for Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson.

Mr Watson has applied for a visa to visit Australia to undertake a range of public speaking and media activities associated with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

“Our standard procedure is to follow-up certain matters disclosed to the department in a visa application, and that’s what is occurring,” a spokesman said.

“Though Mr Watson may have previously visited Australia as a tourist, the visa required for that type of visit is quite different to that for a short-term business visit, which is what is required for his forthcoming trip.

“This is a matter being handled by the department in a manner no different to the standard procedures in place for the processing of millions of visa applications each year.

“We expect to be making a decision on Mr Watson’s visa application in the coming days,” the spokesman added.


I am an Australian and last year I wrote to the government regarding the behaviour of the sea shepherd. My response stated that the government could not condone their behavour. They are pirates and have total disregard for the life of others at sea. They may have a cause but this does not give them the right to put other's lives at danger. Paul Watson you are not welcome in Australia.

Mike Ambler. If you want to know more about Watson visit,


bring on that petition as soon as possible.
Iwant to sign it.

Does this mean we won't have Whale Wars on Animal Planet next year? A shame, that has to be the funniest show on television as the inept crew of the Steve Irwin reenacts a Three Stooges script with the Japanese Whalers as a backdrop.

Imagine if you happened to stumble across the following scene whilst out for a stroll in the country. What would you feel? What would you do?

In a field you see a group of horses, they are happily grazing. They notice you, but are not concerned. From the distance appears a vehicle. It’s a 4X4 pick up and you discern a figure stood in the back standing behind a strange contraption, mounted onto the bed of the pick up.

The pick up bears down on the horses, which begin to panic. The man standing behind the strange contraption is clearly manoeuvring it, as if trying to take aim at a horse! The driver revs hard, and the horses are fleeing for all they are worth, clearly panicked.

Fire! It’s a small harpoon! The harpoon flies, the arrow-straight line of the cable following. Miss, it hits the grass. Fleeing horses. You focus on a large horse at the rear of the pack, its youngster just ahead. The man on the pick up focuses on her too. Fire. Miss again. And another. The fourth shot hits her in the flank. Explosion and fountain of blood. Horse thrashing on the ground in unthinkable agony. Cable winch engaged, horse thrashing and screaming while reeled in, gushing blood and turning the grass red. Hauled to the side of the pick up, still convulsing, haemorrhaging everywhere. Another spear, probe on a long pole with cable attached is thrust into her side. Horse writhing. Big generator on truck blaring. Electrocution current now coursing through the spear. Horse in bloody agony not even close to dead. Finally hauled up tail suspended so they can hold her nose and mouth under water in mounted tank on truck. She drowns after fifteen more minutes in a mixture of water and her own blood.

Transfer slain horse to a waiting lorry. Two horses winched aboard by the back legs. On the back of the truck a banner saying ‘RSPCA are a sham’. A hard hatted crew step forward and with long flensing knives slice the first horse open. Foot long foetus removed. Still alive. Tiny scale model of adult horse. The pregnant mother was not as fast as the others. Foetus carried to a bench with scale, measured and weighed by scientist. Guts spilled on to floor by the long hooks and knives.

If you witnessed the above scene you would be appalled. You would phone the police. The police would arrest the perpetrators of this barbarity. They would be tried in the courts and most likely receive a lengthy prison sentence. The public would be outraged.

Now, replace ‘grass’ with ‘sea’, replace ‘horse’ for ‘whale’, replace ‘pick up’ for ‘whaling vessel’ and replace ‘man’ with ‘thug’. There is no more barbaric method of slaughter on Earth, in any meat industry than that described above. This prolonged butchery and torture is reserved for the most intelligent, most social order of beings, the great whales.

The above ‘horse scene’ is fiction, but for the whales it is not. The description above was documented by a filmmaker paid by the Japanese to film whaling. He was so sickened by what he witnessed that he released the footage. The fact that the Japanese thought that filming all this would be good PR seemed to point to an almost insane departure from reality.

Even if many whales were not critically endangered, whaling should cease on the grounds of cruelty alone. Anyone who can condone this torture should seriously examine their own mental state.

This year again, Japan is determined to torture to death 1000 whales (including some on the CITES endangered species list) in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary.

Only Sea Shepherd is doing anything to uphold international conservation law. Please support them at www.seashepherd.org

LA Live - Watson a bully? What planet are you on? The man is a hero and the world needs more people like him, prepared to stand up to the arrogance of much of humanity. The bullies here are the Japanese, intent on hunting down and torturing to death (yes not just killing, torturing to death) whales in a designated sanctuary. Japanese bullying the Australian Government into these visa farce, when the vst majority of the Australian people want the Japanese whaling on their doorstep shut down.

I personally would love to see the Japanese fleet not sunk econonomically as Watson wants, but in reality. Sunk into the mud of their harbour bottoms, because Japan will never give up on its goal of returning to commercial whaling and wiping out whatever is left.

Go Sea Shepherd, and tackle the real bullies!

"Live in LA" guess what? You and "aussie news" are going to be lining up at the unemployment agency, holding hands. Once we break the Japanese Whalers financially, I will be coming for you and you will be broken financially. The days are numbered for you and your kind.

In the words of George Bush you are "useless eaters" and you will be dealt with.

HAHAHA... Watson will go with or without permission? He keeps saying that whaling is "illegal" which is true, but RESEARCHING is legal. If Watson takes the whaling company to court. He knows he will lose, so the only thing he does is ram them at sea. What a bully. Go to court and settle it in a civilized manner you wacko.

Here is a some news for aussie new. I am going to put 5 million people like you out of work.

I know Paul Watson is probably not reading this, but the only real thing he can do when faced with this kind of opposition is to seek help from professionals.

http://www.globalvisas.com is an established company dealing with visa applications, with offices in each of the territory's they offer help with.

Hope this helps

Piss off Watson!
"Useful idiots" like you and your crew are no longer needed by the Rudd Socialist Labor Party.

Get a life you jerk,Australian's have had enough of their hard earned money confiscated by the Socialist Rudd Labor government and given to arse clowns like your self and your self styled saviors of the world,so you can strut the world stage "saving" whatever it is you decide deserves to be saved that particular week.

Go to New Zealand, anywhere but Australia, ya bunch of parasitic free loading bludgers.

Piss off !!! and take out the diesel engine that powers your boat, put up a sail or learn to row hypocritical arse holes you are.

There is a very good reason why Captain Watson uses Australia as a base. Australia provides a larger market to furnish funds from a largely gullible Aussie green market. This matter is very much a side show to the big picture of global warming and demonstrates how these so called "eco-warriors" fail to strategically prioritise and cannot see the trees through the whale yelps!

Why not simply have the Steve Irwin depart from New Zealand -- which is actually closer to the Japanese hunting grounds -- especially as this year's voyage also comprises the NZ vessel Earthrace?

The Steve Irwin is in Sydney at the moment as part of short tour of Australian ports before leaving for Antarctica. The NSW State government here at least is supporting the Sea Shepherds to the extent of giving them a prime berth for the Steve Irwin in Sydney Cove - just opposite the Opera House. Earlier in the week I made 360 degree interactive panoramas (a virtual tour) on the bridge on the Steve Irwin, and in the galley (and some more I havent finished yet). On my blog
or directly:

(If the LATimes would like to use them in a story please contact me and I can send you the files.)


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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.