The response of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to the announcement by Japan's Fisheries Agency that Sea Shepherd crew will be arrested if we disrupt illegal Japanese whale killing operations, is that the Society is unconcerned.
"When you are willing to die for a whale, the threat of arrest is somewhat trivial," said Captain Paul Watson. "It can only further our cause of defending the whales if the Japanese take Sea Shepherd crewmembers hostage and haul them back to Japan for prosecution," added Watson. "The diplomatic, political and jurisdictional issues will be profound. How will the Australian government react to Japan seizing Australian citizens in the Australian Antarctic Territory and hauling them back in chains to Japan? The Australian government will have to react to defend its citizens or else admit that Australia is a subservient vassal state to Japan and that the rights of its citizens is secondary to selling wood chips to Japan."
How will New Zealand react? Or the United States, South Africa, the Netherlands, Sweden, Great Britain and Germany. All of these crew are citizens of countries that are signatory to enforcing the laws that Japan is violating.
Japan has stated that if arrested by the Japanese coastguard, Sea Shepherd crew will be charged with forcible obstruction of business under Japanese law. Sea Shepherd's defense will be that we are acting in accordance with the United Nations Charter for Nature that calls upon individuals and non-governmental organizations to uphold international conservation law.
"We must never forget that Japan is targeting threatened and endangered whales in an officially established whale sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling and in defiance and contempt of an Australian Federal Court ruling prohibiting the killing of whales in the Australian Antarctic Territory," said Sea Shepherd International Executive Director Kim McCoy.
In an unconfirmed claim from a government official to Sea Shepherd it was reported that Japan threatened to cancel the loading of three iron ore shipments unless Australia agreed to not send a government ship down to monitor the activities of the whaling fleet.
"Judas sold out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver and now the Australian government has sold out the whales for a load of rust," said Captain Watson.
The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin departed on the 7th of December from Newcastle in New South Wales after taking on a full load of fuel, oil and provisions.