Sea Shepherd Assists Greenpeace
On February 9th, as the Sea Shepherd ships Robert Hunter and Farley Mowat were heading for the Japanese whaling fleet, Captain Alex Cornelissen called the Greenpeace ship Esperanza and relayed the coordinates of the fleet to them.
The Greenpeace ship was 40 hours away. Sea Shepherd kept them posted on the coordinates for the next four days before being forced to break off the chase for lack of fuel.
Sea Shepherd provided the coordinates despite the fact that Greenpeace had stated they would not provide coordinates with Sea Shepherd. We did so because we believe the whales need as much support down in the Southern Oceans that they can get.
It is true that Sea Shepherd is not happy with the Greenpeace campaign of eating whale meat with the Japanese, and we have different views on tactics and ethics. For example, we do not eat meat or seafood on our ships to set an example of creating a more ecologically-shallow footprint. Greenpeace does not. They are entitled to their opinion, of course.
But, it is not true that Sea Shepherd hates Greenpeace. Quite frankly, it is difficult to hate something that you have created and the Greenpeace Foundation was co-founded by Sea Shepherd's founder Captain Paul Watson. Another co-founder of Greenpeace, Rod Marining, is presently crewing on the Farley Mowat and Emily Hunter, the daughter of Greenpeace co-founder Robert Hunter, is volunteering on the Sea Shepherd ship named in honor of her father. And as strange as it may sound, not one original Greenpeace founder has crewed on the Greenpeace ships for over a decade. Many have crewed and continue to crew on Sea Shepherd ships.
Captain Watson and Emily Hunter were stunned to realize that the crew on the Esperanza had never heard of Robert Hunter, the founding father and first president of Greenpeace. Rod Marining, however, said he was not surprised because the Esperanza crew were hired employees with a rudimentary knowledge of the history of the organization they work for.
Captain Watson has long desired that Sea Shepherd be an extension of the original Greenpeace vision. Captain Watson was one of the eight signatories that established Greenpeace International in October 1979.
Some Greenpeace employees, none of who know Captain Paul Watson, have accused Sea Shepherd of being violent, yet Sea Shepherd has never caused a single injury to a single person in our 30-year long history. These same critics have accused Sea Shepherd of acting criminally, yet no Sea Shepherd crewmember has ever been convicted of a felony, whereas, Greenpeace has a record of numerous convictions.
Sea Shepherd is open to working in cooperation with Greenpeace and always has been. However, Sea Shepherd has responded to public Greenpeace criticism when required.
For example in 1986, after sinking two illegal Icelandic whaling ships, Captain Watson was doing a talk show in Vancouver when someone called in a bomb threat to protest Sea Shepherd "violence." This was quite bizarre, but the radio station was evacuated and as Captain Watson stood on the corner with the host of the show David Barrett, a reporter from the Vancouver Sun shoved a microphone into Captain Watson's face and asked, "What is your reaction to Greenpeace labeling you an eco-terrorist for sinking the Icelandic whaling ships?"
Captain Watson had to come back with a quick answer and his first thought was the one he expressed and it was, "Oh, what do you expect from the Avon Ladies of the Environmental Movement?" He was referring of course to the army of Greenpeace fundraisers that knock on doors asking for money.
Unfortunately, every time Captain Watson defends himself from a Greenpeace attack or criticism he is accused of bashing Greenpeace. It's quite the Catch 22 position.
The bottom line is that Sea Shepherd is perfectly willing to work in cooperation with Greenpeace anytime Greenpeace wishes. Next year, when we return to the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary we will make the coordinates available again to Greenpeace, well, at least to the ones who are not eating whale meat.