The crews of the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker celebrated Valentine's Day by painting the Research sign on the side of the Nisshan Maru with red paint. The paint represented the blood of the whales, exposing the bogus nature of so-called research by the Japanese whaling vessels.

The word "research" is in English and not Japanese, because the Japanese fully understand that the whaling is a commercial operation. It is only the West that the Japanese whalers are trying to fool.

The Japanese whalers have not killed a whale for ten days now because of Sea Shepherd's intervention.

The Japanese Institute for Cetacean Research has accused Sea Shepherd of harassing the fleet each day. Of course Sea Shepherd is harassing the fleet. We did not come down here to hang banners.

Sea Shepherd ships have a single objection - to cut kill quotas inflicted by the illegal poaching operations of the Japanese whaling fleet.

For those who accuse Sea Shepherd of being criminals, Captain Paul Watson has only this to say: "If we are criminals, either arrest us or shut the hell up. I'm getting pretty fed up with whiners who can't back up their ridiculous accusations with the law. Cite a law that we have broken, cite a violation. The truth is that there have been no violations and we have not been charged with a single criminal act or maritime violation in six years of opposing these poachers."

Sea Shepherd, on the other hand, can cite laws, such as: the regulations of the International Whaling Commission, the Antarctic Treaty, the Law of the Sea, and an Australian Federal Court order prohibiting Japanese whaling in the Australian Antarctic Territorial waters.

Japanese whalers are barred from entering Australian and New Zealand waters. Sea Shepherd ships are not barred. Japanese whalers are barred from Indonesian waters. Sea Shepherd ships are not. If a Japanese whaling ship enters an Australian or New Zealand port it will be arrested. Sea Shepherd ships are not arrested.

So who indeed are the criminals? The poachers illegally killing endangered and protected whales inside the boundaries of an established international Whale Sanctuary, in violation of a global moratorium on whaling, and in contempt of an Australian Federal Court order, OR the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which is simply trying to stop these illegal activities, and doing so in a responsible manner without causing injuries or breaking the law?

Tomorrow marks the 70th day since the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin departed Fremantle to begin Operation Waltzing Matilda.

"This is a long protracted campaign involving three vessels coming from three different countries under different flags and with volunteers from 18 nations. We are navigating the most remote and hostile waters in the world and we are opposing an increasingly aggressive opposition. We have lost one ship and had another damaged. But, we are cutting their kill quotas and costing them their profits and thus Operation Waltzing Matilda has been a success," said Captain Watson. "We will not retreat and we will never surrender the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to the poachers from Japan."

Nissin Maru Helicopter and Zeppelin

Red spots painting on the Research sign of the action

credit: Barbara Veiga / Sea Shepherd

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