In a statement issued January 9, 2007, the Japanese Whaling Association threatened violent action against Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's flagship the Farley Mowat.
Japan's latest tactic has been to lean on any nation that the Farley Mowat has been registered under. This pressure resulted in Canada revoking the Canadian flag the ship has held since 2002 and preventing the ship from being registered in Britain and the Cayman Islands. The ship left Australia under the Belize flag just hours before the Belize government cancelled the ship's registration under Japanese pressure.
The Farley Mowat is presently at sea without a flag.
Japan Whaling Association President Keiichi Nakajima said, "Sea Shepherd is officially running a pirate vessel."
"International law says any non-flagged vessel can be boarded for inspection, and in case of any violation or piracy, has to be detained with its crew arrested. If Paul Watson continues with his violent campaign using this vessel, then he'll be risking everything," said Mr Nakajima, who called on the Government of Japan to ensure everything possible was done to secure the safety of Japanese researchers and crew by boarding the Farley Mowat on the high seas and seizing the ship and arresting the crew as pirates.
Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd's founder and president, dismissed Nakajima's threats saying that the crew of the Farley Mowat is quite prepared to defend the ship against Japanese violence. As for risking everything he said, "We are quite prepared to risk our lives and this ship for the whales."
"It amazes me that these outlaw whalers who are slaughtering endangered whales in a whale sanctuary have the audacity to call us pirates and to accuse of of violence when we have never caused an injury to any person yet they spill thousands of gallons of whale blood into the frigid waters of the Southern Oceans each year," he continued. "People would have to be blind and willfully ignorant to not see this Japanese posturing for what it is - an attempt to justify their illegal slaughter of the whales."
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