|Monday, January 10, 2011|
Sea Shepherd Stands Self-sufficient in the Southern Ocean
Sea Shepherd does not expect help or assistance from Australia or New Zealand. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society should not expect any help from Australia should any Sea Shepherd crew or vessels get in trouble in the Southern Ocean.
From the Sydney Morning Herald:
Ms Gillard has called on both sides to act more responsibly. “This is a remote, inhospitable, dangerous place," she told reporters in Canberra on Monday.
"Any sense that somehow you can act irresponsibly and somehow someone miraculously turns up to save you - that is not the way the world works."
The message from the Australian government is clear: Don’t call us if you get into trouble. And Sea Shepherd does not intend to. Sea Shepherd can and will take care of themselves.
Captain Paul Watson responded by saying, “I have seven years of experience in Southern Ocean waters so I do not need Prime Minister Gillard to tell me that this is a remote, inhospitable, dangerous place. I also don’t expect Australia or anyone else to ‘miraculously’ turn up to save us. We do indeed know how the world works. We are not wealthy yachtsmen racing around the world trying to set a record and thus deserving of assistance. We are not fishermen who expect and demand government assistance. No, we are marine conservationists trying to stop the poaching of whales in a whale sanctuary and we can take care of ourselves should the need arises, just as we always have.”
The Sea Shepherd vessels the Bob Barker and Steve Irwin carry physicians, trained medics, and firemen, and have well-stocked medical wards. The ships carry emergency pumps, firefighting equipment, and towing equipment.
Even before the Steve Irwin left port, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority notified Sea Shepherd that Sea Shepherd’s crews were not to expect any assistance, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs notified all our Australian crewmembers that the government would be limited in their capacity to help with consular services or assistance.
The message: You’re on your own down there.
Last year when the Ady Gil was ripped in two by the Shonan Maru No. 2, her six-man crew was rescued immediately by the crew of the Bob Barker. The Australian government’s response was to assure Japan that the whalers would be absolved of any blame before even seeing any evidence of the collision.
“Yes, it is true,” said Steve Irwin’s Communications Officer Doug O’Neil of Tasmania. “Our government talks tough about saving whales, but when it comes to action they show their true colors as handmaids to trade and profits and thus they side with the Japanese government while pretending to defend the whales to the Australian public.”
“As for acting irresponsibly,” remarked Captain Watson, “I can’t think of anything more irresponsible than allowing poachers to slaughter threatened and protected whales in an internationally established whale sanctuary.”