Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha, Limited put out the following news release this week. Captain Paul Watson's responds point by point to their statements.
International Community Must Act Against Sea Shepherd Maritime Violence
10 February 2009
ICR: The owner of the Japanese research vessels in the Antarctic said today that the international community must start applying global maritime laws, which protect ships and their crews from the type of violence being perpetrated on the high-seas by the renegade Dutch vessel, Steve Irwin.
Captain Paul Watson: I believe the international community must start applying international global conservation laws against illegal Japanese whaling activities. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is also very concerned for the type of violence being perpetuated on the high-seas by the renegade Japanese whaling fleet.
ICR: "A group of extremists is deliberately ramming vessels and trying to disable their propellers. The United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) establishes clear rules to prevent the high seas from being a lawless zone. Living up to these UNCLOS obligations represents a test for the governments of the Netherlands and Australia, which have so far hesitated to apply agreed international maritime rules to prevent these criminal acts," The President of Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha, Limited, Mr Kazuo Yamamura, said today.
Captain Paul Watson: A group of extremist whalers were deliberately trying to ram the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin and trying to disable the ship's propeller. In addition they used a long range acoustical weapon on the ship and the ship's helicopter while it was in the air. The United Nations World Charter for Nature establishes the foundation for Sea Shepherd to intervene against illegal Japanese whaling activities. Living up to the enforcement of international conservation law represents a test for the member nations of the International Whaling Commission. They have so far hesitated to apply agreed international regulations to prevent criminal whaling of endangered whales in an established whale sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on whaling.
ICR: "Over the last week, we have witnessed Sea Shepherd members firing projectiles at the Japanese vessels, throwing acid-filled glass bottles onto our decks and deploying specially-designed fouling lines to damage our propellers, among other illegal acts. Then they escalated the attacks by ramming two of our ships - the Yushin Maru No.2 and Yushin Maru No.3. The vessels have been considerably damaged.
Captain Paul Watson: Over the last week we have witnessed and documented Japanese whalers throwing projectiles at Sea Shepherd crewmembers, hitting crewmembers with high powered water hoses, using an acoustic weapon device against Sea Shepherd crewmembers and deploying fouling lines to damage our propeller, among other illegal acts. They attempted to ram the Steve Irwin. The Steve Irwin did not ram any of the harpoon vessels. The Steve Irwin collided with two whaling ships when they illegally passed the Steve Irwin and created the conditions for the collisions. The ships were not considerably damaged. Hundreds of whales have however suffered and died an agonizing death from harpoons fired illegally by the Japanese ships.
ICR: "Failure to apply international agreements provides support to this animal rights group's use of violence and undermines the rule of law. By allowing this Dutch vessel safe haven in port, the Australian Government is complicit in sanctioning criminal acts on the high seas. These maritime laws are not options. If they are not applied, they are of little value."
"The escalating terror attacks will necessitate consideration of new security strategies to protect our ships and crews," Mr Yamamura said.
Captain Paul Watson: The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is not an animal rights group; we are a marine conservation organization. Japanese activities undermine the rule of law and pose serious concerns for the health of oceanic eco-systems and the conservation of endangered species. If international conservation laws are not applied, they are of little value. The escalation of violence by Japanese whalers will necessitate consideration of new tactics to protect our ships and crews from the criminals involved with poaching whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
ICR: "This is no longer an issue of whaling, but has become more about the international community permitting this Dutch ship to commit criminal acts at sea and thereby putting our crews' lives at risk." Mr Yamamura urged the governments of both Australia and New Zealand to no longer allow the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society safe haven in either country.
Captain Paul Watson: The Japanese may not want it to be an issue of whaling but illegal whaling is the issue. We would not be interfering against their activities if not for the fact that Japanese whaling activities are illegal under IWC regulations and the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the Antarctic Treaty and a Federal Australian Court Order prohibiting whaling by Japan in the Australian Antarctic Territory. Sea Shepherd is pleased that the Japanese whaling ships are not allowed to utilize Australian and New Zealand ports because of the recognition and condemnation by these two nations of Japan's unlawful whaling operations.