Greenpeace to Abandon Whales in Antarctica - Sea Shepherd Will Battle Whalers Alone in Antarctica in 2006/2007
The Greenpeace Foundation has announced that they will not be returning to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in Antarctica for the 2006/2007 Japanese whaling season.
In a recent meeting at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney, Australia, Shayne Rattenbury of Greenpeace said that they have accomplished all that they could this year and there was no need to return to Antarctic waters at the end of the year to confront whalers. If they return to Antarctica at all, it will be for a global warming research mission.
Greenpeace is estimated to have spent over one million dollars in promotions over the recent campaign to Antarctica where Greenpeace crewmembers were filmed observing the slaughter of the whales.
Shayne Rattenbury said that Greenpeace had to re-evaluate their tactics after one of their crew was thrown into the ocean during a confrontation with a Japanese whaling ship. "If not for the fact that he was wearing a survival suit, he would have died in those frigid waters," said Rattenbury.
Captain Paul Watson was amused at the statement. "I thought that was what a survival suit was for," he said. "My crew all jumped into the water on New Year's Day to swim with the penguins and they were only wearing bathing suits. Rattenbury seems to forget that risk is what this is all about. Of course it is risky. Of course it is dangerous. If it was easy then everyone would be doing it. Now it looks as if only Sea Shepherd will be taking these risks against the pirate whalers next year."
Greenpeace had two ships in Antarctic waters including the Esperanza that had the speed capability of being able to stay constantly with the Japanese fleet. The 30 million dollar Esperanza was the perfect ship for shutting down illegal Japanese whaling. Instead, Greenpeace used it as a filming platform. Greenpeace also had a refueling ship to re-supply their two vessels. Despite this, the Greenpeace ships stayed only one week longer than Sea Shepherd and returned to Cape Town with plenty of fuel in their tanks.
"I visted the Esperanza in Cape Town," said Farley Mowat Chief Engineer Trevor Van Der Gulik. "They had enough fuel left onboard to have stayed with the Japanese fleet for another two weeks. When we arrived in Cape Town after a voyage of 8,500 miles we had only a day's supply of fuel remaining. I cannot believe they abandoned the whales when they still had the means to stay down there!"
Greenpeace also refused to cooperate with Sea Shepherd and refused to post their coordinates on their website to prevent Sea Shepherd from getting the information.
"Greenpeace had the capability of helping us to stop the whalers, "said Farley Mowat 1st Officer Alex Cornelissen. "They knew that the whalers stopped whaling and ran every time the Farley Mowat approached. Instead, they allowed dozens of whales to die that could have been saved."
The much slower Farley Mowat was able to intercept the Japanese fleet three times and each time, the Japanese ships ran. In total, the whalers fled over 4,000 miles and it cost them 15 days of whaling.
"Greenpeace is taking credit for this," said Captain Watson. "Despite the fact that the whalers killed whales as Greenpeace watched. I have been reluctant to publicly criticize Greenpeace because despite their tactical limitations they were still down there and their filming of the whale killing was educational to the general public. But now that they have announced they are abandoning the whales of Antarctica, I have no problem in being critical of them. As far as I'm concerned, they used the whales to raise money and that money should be spent on returning to Antarctica and not for purposes other than what people donated it for."
Sea Shepherd is putting all efforts into securing a faster ship to return to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in Antarctic to once again pursue the illegal whaling vessels from Japan. There is no doubt that the Japanese whalers are afraid of Sea Shepherd's policy of intervening against their illegal operations.
"If we can match their speed, we can shut them down." said Captain Paul Watson. "If people are sincere about stopping these outlaw whalers, then we invite them to help us raise the funds to purchase the ship needed to do the job. A donation to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is a donation directly to the whales and not to the administrative overhead, fundraising machine, and salaries of an eco-bureaucracy that has officially abandoned the campaign to stop the whalers in the Southern Oceans."
Captain Paul Watson is not happy to be criticizing Greenpeace. He was a co-founder of Greenpeace back in 1972 and he was also the man who first developed the tactic of blocking the harpoons with Zodiac inflatable boats. He and the late Robert Hunter, the first President of the Greenpeace Foundation, were the first two people to place their bodies on the line to protect whales in June 1975. Robert Hunter's daughter Emily Hunter was a crewmember on the Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat for the recent campaign to Antarctica.
"Greenpeace was a cutting edge grassroots organization in the Seventies, "said Captain Watson. "Back then, we were not afraid of being controversial and we were not afraid of taking risks. Sea Shepherd is now what Greenpeace was then. I never changed - Greenpeace changed when they exchanged gutsy, effective intervention for ocean posing, public relations, and fundraising. They are rich and we are poor, but we give a greater bang for the buck and we are the organization most feared by the pirate whalers and outlaw fishing operations."
Sea Shepherd cannot compete with the expensive ad campaigns and direct mail operations of Greenpeace. Despite this, it will be a Sea Shepherd ship confronting the whalers in 2006/2007 and not Greenpeace.