The Issue of Safety at Sea
Every year the International Whaling Commission brings up the issue of Safety at Sea despite the fact that the IWC has no jurisdiction, authority, or expertise regarding this issue.
Japan maintains that the activities of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society pose a threat to the safety of Japanese whalers.
The IWC is given only the Japanese version of events and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is not allowed to present evidence or to make a statement.
Instead of focusing on the activities of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Japan should be paying more attention to their own safety record.
In addition, the Greenpeace Foundation has been condemning the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for safety issues citing that Sea Shepherd actions pose a dangerous threat to the whalers.
The facts however speak for themselves.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has mounted five voyages to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. During these five voyages totaling 20 months at sea in waters from the Ross Sea to south of South Africa, the Sea Shepherd ships Farley Mowat, Robert Hunter and Steve Irwin have displayed an unblemished safety record.
The Japanese fleet has demonstrated an appalling safety record.
Whereas the Sea Shepherd ships have not suffered a single fatality, the whaling fleet has seen the death of three seamen since 2006.
Whereas the Sea Shepherd ships have not suffered any serious injuries, the whaling fleet has reported numerous injuries onboard their ships.
Whereas the Sea Shepherd ships have not experienced any onboard fires, the whaling fleet has experienced two major devastating onboard fires on the Nisshin Maru.
Whereas the Sea Shepherd ships have not suffered any ice damage, the harpoon vessel Yushin Maru No. 2 was forced to go to Indonesia in 2009 for repairs to it’s propeller.
During the confrontations, the Japanese whalers display no hesitation in targeting Sea Shepherd crew for bodily harm. They know that if they inflict a death or injuries on any of the Sea Shepherd crew that the government of Japan will defend and justify their actions.
The Sea Shepherd crew on the other hand must exercise every precaution to avoid causing even the most minor of injuries.
As a result the number of Sea Shepherd crew that have sustained injuries in these confrontations (fortunately minor injuries) has been five, whereas the number of whalers injured has been zero.
The Sea Shepherd ships have not deliberately rammed any whaling vessels. Collisions have occurred when the harpoon vessels have attempted to muscle their way past Sea Shepherd’s blockade of the factory ship Nisshin Maru.
During the last five voyages to Antarctica, there has not been a single criminal charge laid against the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Our ships have not been arrested and not one of our crew has been arrested for any crime.
During this same period, the Australian Federal Court issued an order to the Japanese whaling fleet to cease and desist from whaling in the Australian Antarctic Territorial Waters. The Japanese whaling fleet is now in contempt of this order.
The Japanese whaling fleet is targeting endangered and protected whales in an established international whale sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling and in violation of the Antarctic Treaty, numerous regulations of the International Whaling Commission, and of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Japan continuously states that the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has condemned the actions of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. This is true, but the IWC has also condemned so-called scientific whaling by Japan.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is up against one of the most powerful and wealthy nations on the planet and in opposition to a criminal industry controlled by powerful Yakuza clans (Japanese mafia). The very fact that we continue to operate in defiance of Japan’s power is a miracle in itself. They have engineered the removal of our flags of registry, they have caused us to be harassed at border points, they have made threats, and they have twisted the arms of governments in their efforts to stop our opposition to their illegal whaling operations.
We have no intention of surrendering to their power or retreating from our opposition to their illegal whaling. We must continue speaking truth to power and we will continue to physically oppose the Japanese whaling fleet exercising every precaution to avoid causing injury to the whalers, and exercising the restraint required to remain within the boundaries of the law.
One thing for sure however is that the Japanese whaling fleet poses a definite and lethal threat to the endangered whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
The Japanese whaling fleet in addition to killing three of their own crewmembers is conducting a mass murder of whales and that is the greatest and most violent tragedy of all.