Just when we thought journalism had reached an all time low with the bogus article from the Guardian in the UK, the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad brought it down into the sewer with a completely fabricated story [see article text on this page]. They write that Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd attempted to ram each other's ships and that during the "sea battle" the Japanese fleet escaped and now both Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace are desperately searching for the Japanese fleet.
Contrary to this story, no such incident took place. At no time did a Greenpeace ship and the Sea Shepherd ship ever come remotely close to attacking each other. On Christmas day, the Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat passed the Greenpeace ship Esperanza and both crews waved "hello" to each other. That is the only "encounter" between the ships of the two organizations.
"I don't know what is going on with these newspapers," said Captain Watson. "Neither the Het Nieuwsblad or the Guardian bothered to contact our office or our ship to verify this story. The Het Nieuwsblad story seems to have exaggerated the bogus story that appeared in the Guardian the day before. This really is the shoddiest journalism that I have ever seen and I've seen a good deal of shoddy journalism in my career."
The quote where Captain Paul Watson accuses Greenpeace of "being the Avon Ladies of the Environmental Movement" was indeed made by Captain Watson - 19 years ago.
But this article is about more than taking quotes out of context. The accusation that the ships of both organizations tried to ram each other is entirely fabricated. The accusation that the Japanese fleet escaped while this fictitious "battle" was taking place is a blatant lie.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is demanding that the Het Nieuwsblad and the Guardian apologize for publishing articles that are false, having been written without any attempt to verify the accusations. We demand a correction be printed by both publications.
"Greenpeace will back me fully on this," said Captain Watson. "The very idea that Greenpeace would ram us is an insult to them and it is insulting to us to suggest that Sea Shepherd would ram a Greenpeace ship."
Our position is clear.