Sea Shepherd Prepares to Take on Japanese Whalers Alone This Year
The Japanese whaling fleet will depart from Japan next month.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Ship Steve Irwin will also depart at the end of November from Brisbane, Australia.
The Japanese fleet and the Steve Irwin should arrive in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary around the same time.
"Our objective is simple," said Captain Paul Watson. "We intend to once again intervene against illegal Japanese whaling and once again we intend to save the lives of as many whales as we can with the resources available to us. We have been the cause of the Japanese whaling fleet losing profits for three years in a row. We intend to make it a fourth year of red ink for the whaler's books."
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society cannot depend on the government of Kevin Rudd in Australia to help the whales.
"They have reneged on their promises and have done far less than the John Howard government when Senator Ian Campbell was the Environment Minister," said Captain Watson. "I think Environment Minister Peter Garrett should have kept playing music and stayed out of politics. He is no friend to the whales, kangaroos, trees or the environment - just another hot air politician."
Exactly a year ago today, a month before the Australian elections, Rudd and Garrett both promised to appoint a whaling ambassador and they promised to take legal action against Japan.
Shadow environment minister Greg Hunt said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Mr. Garrett had been hoping the public would forget about their promises on whaling.
"It is time the Minister and his boss finally stated once and for all whether they will deliver on the promises they made last year," he said.
Greenpeace may or may not send a ship southward. They haven't said.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society once again made a request to Greenpeace to work in cooperation on the effort to defend the whales and once again Greenpeace has refused.
Greenpeace informed The Western Australian newspaper that they would not work with Sea Shepherd unless it renounced violence and property damage.
"It's hard to renounce violence when we have never been violent," said Captain Watson. "In our entire history of over three decades we have never caused a single injury to a single person. As for property damage, Sea Shepherd has never damaged any property that has not been used in a criminal activity. That is why we have never been convicted of a felony or of any property crime, nor have we been sued."
The Sea Shepherd crew will relay information to Greenpeace on the position of the Japanese fleet when it is found and Sea Shepherd will assist Greenpeace unilaterally. The whales need all the support they can get.
"We want Greenpeace down there," said Captain Watson, "We would like anyone with a boat and the ability to navigate in the Southern Oceans to be down there. The whales need help from all of us. I will not criticize Greenpeace for sending a ship down to Antarctic waters despite their animosity towards us, but considering the huge amount of funds they raise for the whales, I will most certainly criticize them if they do not send a ship to the Southern Oceans in December."
The Sea Shepherd crew have been preparing the Steve Irwin for the return to Antarctica. A new helicopter deck and hangar has been added and the helicopter has been completely overhauled. New equipment has been secured including a new hydraulic crane and fast interceptor boats. At least half the crew this year will be Australian. The rest of the crew will be Canadian, American, British, French, Dutch, South African, Swedish, and Chilean.
"We have a few surprises for the whalers this year," said Sea Shepherd 2nd officer Peter Hammarstedt of Sweden. "We intend to be more aggressive and even more relentless in our interventions. We do not intend to witness the killing of any whales, we intend to make sure no whales are killed on our watch."
Last year's successful campaign will begin airing on Animal Planet in a seven part series called Whale Wars beginning November 7th at 9:00P.M. in the United States. The program will air at later dates internationally.