Voyage of the Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat
In Search of Outlaw Killers in a Sanctuary for Whales
Report from Captain Paul Watson
The Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat came upon our first iceberg of the season this evening. Wraithlike it emerged from the heavy fog. We had spotted it on radar hours before so we knew that it was big but we found ourselves utterly surprised by the immensity of the structure that loomed before and above us.
It was a flattop. Two hundred feet in height and over a half a mile wide. It was like passing an aircraft carrier in a canoe. This ghostly crystalline ship with sides as smooth, sheer, and as milky white as porcelain struck all the crew with jaw-dropping awe, even those of us who have been to these Southern waters before.
Our patrol of the Antarctic's Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is now underway and today we begin the search for the pirate whalers from Japan.
There are six ships out here on these waters, six ships whose objective is obscenely murderous and whose operations are a flagrant violation of international conservation law.
The Greenpeace Foundation is also down in these waters searching for the same killers. It is their two ships and our one against the six ships of the Japanese fleet.
I read today how a group of courageous and compassionate divers cut loose an exhausted humpback whale just outside of San Francisco. They removed over twelve crab traps weighing 90 pounds each with the ropes tangled around the tail and flippers.
"When I was cutting the line going through the mouth, its eye was there winking at me," said Diver James Moskito. "When the whale realized it was free, it began swimming around in circles," Moskito said. "It swam to each diver, nuzzled him and then swam to the next one. It seemed kind of affectionate, like a dog that's happy to see you. I never felt threatened. It was an amazing, unbelievable experience."
So much effort and courage to save one whale. At the same time that the Japanese fleet is firing horrific exploding harpoons into the backsides of fleeing whales. Then the whalers electrocute them as they thrash and struggle and bleed profusely into the frozen sea for up to twenty minutes as their screams gurgle through the water in bubbles of blood and explode into the air with humanlike outbursts of unimaginable pain.
I cannot express to you, my friends, just how it pains me to know that these butchering criminals are even now pursuing helpless whales as we search for them. At this moment, the hot blood of a whale is most likely pouring into these frigid waters. Every day that passes means the oceans are robbed of the life of more of these gentle giants.
What sort of beings are these whalers? They slaughter the whales without thought, without mercy or remorse. What sort of culture can support such a barbarously cruel industry? How can the nations of the world stand by and allow Japan to contemptuously continue to kill the whales and get away with it just because they are the economic bullies of Asia?
Right now, an intelligent, sociable, incredibly unique creature is being hauled through the anus of a belching steel factory ship where men scurry like cockroaches over the warm body slicing through the flesh with their efficient knives, spilling the entrails onto the deck, and ripping the fetuses from the bodies of mothers who will never feel the joy of birthing and nursing their offspring.
What these men do out here in these lonely, remote, and hostile waters is unforgivable. They wage a relentless slaughter on creatures whose brain size alone should exempt them from our savageness.
They turn these great and gentle leviathans into frozen boxes of meat to be consumed by a people who separate themselves from the pain and destruction and who give not a thought to the murder they endorse and promote.
"Murder!" Is that too harsh a word? I don't think so. These are mammals whose brains are more complex and larger than our own, whose communication abilities put us to shame and whose social interrelationships are much more solid than ours. Their numbers have been vastly diminished by centuries of merciless human predation and now we kill them in the name of science to research why their numbers are declining, although the real motivation is to turn their carcasses into hundreds of millions of dollars to fuel corporate profits and to grease the palms of the politicians that allow the bloody illegal carnage to continue.
What we have down here in the Southern Oceans is an international Whale Sanctuary where Antarctic piked whales are systematically butchered, along with the endangered fin whales and next year the endangered and beloved humpback whales. We also have the Japanese killing whales in the Australian Antarctic Territory without a murmur of protest from Australia because of economic threats from Japan. We also have the flagrant violation of the global moratorium on commercial whaling that supposedly has been in force since 1986.
The killing of whales in these waters is clearly illegal, it is viciously cruel, and it is immoral.
In a world of six and a half billion people, a few volunteers from twelve different nations are down here without support from any government, doing the job that the world's governments should be doing. With limited resources, we are battling an industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars in order to save the lives of thousands of threatened whales.
Why? Because someone has to care and someone has to act and someone must enforce the rule of law against an arrogant nation that ruthlessly plunders the seas and exterminates intelligent life without mercy.
The Rising Sun has no place in a world where the Sun does not rise. The Japanese must take their cruel harpoons and their flensing knives, their factory ship and their insatiable greed from this Sanctuary and let the whales live in peace.