Love to see Paul buy Sea Shepherd another vessel (the Linda McCartney?) for the fleet.
From Captain Paul Watson:
The United Kingdom threw every bureaucratic roadblock they had to prevent the Steve Irwin from returning to the Southern Ocean. The MCA ran us through the rule books on safety, pollution, manning, insurance, and inspected every little nook and cranny of the ship looking for a way to detain us from departing. I think they were disappointed when we passed every hurdle, obstacle and roadblock they put in our way. The Steve Irwin is now enroute to Australia and then onto the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. We have a great crew and a sound ship and as Captain John Paul Jones once said, "Give me a fair ship so that I may sail her into harms way."
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Brigitte Bardot realesed an open letter to the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, demanding that Japan stop whaling in Antarctica and affirming her full support to her friend, Captain Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd.
Update From Captain Paul Watson/26 Oct.:
The Steve Irwin and the Brigitte Bardot are at sea. The Steve Irwin is in the North Atlantic and the Brigitte Bardot is in the Indian Ocean. The Cove Guardians are in Taiji, Japan and the Bob Barker is in Sydney, Australia.
Via Captain Paul Watson
It amazes me that Japan, an economic superpower with a population of more than a hundred million people is treating the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society like we are a nation they are at war with. The Japanese Prime Minister has allocated the equivalent of $27 million (Aust) dollars for the purpose of stopping Sea Shepherd from obstructing their illegal whaling operations because according to the Prime Minister, "Japan will not surrender to Sea Shepherd." Operation Divine Wind will be an extremely challenging campaign BUT Sea Shepherd will not be deterred by this display of power. The Japanese whaling fleet is desperate, they are bankrupt, and we will defeat them and drive them out of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary as long as we do not back down. I have a passionate and courageous crew, and the ships to take them into harm's way to defend the whales, and we will do so aggressively and directly no matter how strong the opposition is, no matter how dangerous the situation, because this insanity, the horrific mass murder of these wonderfully intelligent, socially complex, magnificent, sentient beings must be ended, for they are worth every risk we take, every death threat we receive, every condemnation posted against, every bureaucratic harassment we endure, and every sacrifice we must make. The winds of compassion are beginning to blow and we intend to smash the Japanese whaling fleet on the rocks of world opinion.
November 9, 2011
HOW JAPAN HAS USED TSUNAMI AND EARTHQUAKE RELIEF FUNDS TO SUBSIDIZE ILLEGAL WHALING
COMMENTARY BY CAPTAIN PAUL WATSON
After the horrific tragedy of March 11th, hundreds of thousands of Japanese people had their lives permanently altered by the triple blow of the earthquake, the tsunami, and the nuclear horror of Fukushima.
People from around the world responded generously and millions of dollars poured into Japan to help the many families who lost their children, parents, homes, and worldly possessions.
The world responded and demonstrated that they cared; yet seven months later, thousands of Japanese families remain homeless as a devastated infrastructure continues to be slowly rebuilt.
When people the world over sent their donations to Japan, it was with the innocent understanding that their contributions would be used by the Japanese government for the purpose of actually helping the Japanese victims of the disasters.
What they did not anticipate or imagine is that some of these funds would be used to subsidize the illegal slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. But that is what the Japanese Fisheries Agency has done with a large amount of the relief funds. It is a complete disgrace and the Japanese government is displaying blatant contempt in response to the world?s generosity by this shameful behavior.
On October 21st, 2011, the Japanese cabinet agreed to set aside 2.28 billion yen (over $29 million USD) in tax revenue to help those in the worst affected regions. Since then, it has been discovered that the Japanese Fisheries Agency submitted a request entitled ?measures to stabilize the scientific whaling research programme? that actually requested and received this full amount for security to defend the so-called Japanese scientific whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.
The justification is that some of the whalers working on the Antarctic whaling fleet?s vessels were from communities damaged by the earthquake and tsunami.
This request comes at a time when the whaling program in Japan is suffering from debts of over $60 million USD. What this actually means is that donations from around the world sent by well-meaning generous people to help victims of the earthquake will now be used to attempt to stop Sea Shepherd Conservation Society from defending whales in the Southern Ocean.
Japan has actually allocated nearly $30 million USD specifically to oppose Sea Shepherd?s efforts to defend the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
It is ludicrous that this wealthy economic superpower is treating Sea Shepherd like an actual nation that they are at war with. The Prime Minister of Japan has actually stated that Japan will not surrender to Sea Shepherd.
It appears that this will be a very different and more challenging campaign this season.
Despite this incredible war chest of rechanneled relief funds, the international crew of volunteers on our three Sea Shepherd ships will continue to defend whales against overwhelming odds.
Japan has political power, tens of millions of dollars, faster and larger ships, and four whalers for every whale defender, but we have something they do not ? a passionate and courageous crew of international volunteers, willing to risk our lives to defend the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Operation Divine Wind, our eighth campaign to defend whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, will begin in early December.
The M/V Sam Simon to Join the Sea Shepherd Fleet for the Next Voyage to Antarctica
The rumors are true! The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is going to add a fourth ship to the fleet. The Sam Simon will soon join the Bob Barker, Steve Irwin, and Brigitte Bardot. Sam Simon generously donated the funds to purchase the ship and we have found the perfect candidate, in of all places ? Germany! As chance and Costa Rica would have it, I happen to be in Germany and in an excellent position to survey and prepare the ship to join us on our return to the Southern Ocean to once again confront the illegal whaling activities of the Japanese whaling fleet. I wish I could elaborate on the ship but until it is secured, outfitted, and ready for Whale Wars, that information has to remain classified. What I can say is that former German-government-owned ships are meticulously maintained and kept in good running order. It will not be a problem to have the new ship underway in time for the voyage to Australia and on to Antarctica.
The Sea Shepherd crew intends to return to the Southern Ocean in a campaign to be called Operation Zero Tolerance. Zero Tolerance illustrates our objective of zero kills by the Japanese whalers and it is a title that makes use of the image of the Zero in Japanese history. Sea Shepherd is confident that four ships and two helicopters plus unmanned drones will give the Whale Warriors the combination of speed, range, strength, and communication abilities to accomplish this zero kill objective.
Four ships, four captains, and over 120 crew from around the globe represent a force to be reckoned with, and once again the integrity of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary will be defended by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Sea Shepherd is proud to include Sam Simon in the short and distinguished list of compassionate, dedicated, and concerned activists whose names have graced Sea Shepherd ships over the years. This list includes Edward Abbey, Cleveland Amory, Farley Mowat, Robert Hunter, Steve Irwin, Brigitte Bardot, Bob Barker, and now Sam Simon.
Sam Simon, co-creator of The Simpsons is a longtime champion of animals and a wonderfully compassionate human being. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is proud to have him on our Advisory Board and proud indeed to be launching a ship bearing his name. The Sam Simon will be taking a leading and important role in Operation Zero Tolerance in defense of the whales. Thank you Sam. We will make you proud of this ship and what it can and will accomplish.
Full speed ahead Capt. Watson!
Agence-France Presse ? Wed, Dec 5, 2012 4:49 PM NZDT
Militant conservationist Paul Watson, who is wanted by Interpol, has confirmed he is back onboard a Sea Shepherd vessel and ready to confront Japanese whalers.
The Canadian's whereabouts had been a mystery since July when he jumped bail in Germany, where he was arrested on charges stemming from a high-seas confrontation over shark finning in 2002.
Sea Shepherd had said the white-bearded captain would be involved in this season's campaign against Japan's whaling operations and he confirmed in a statement that he was back in charge.
"The deck of the Steve Irwin is again under my feet," Watson said late Tuesday. "I have an awesome crew and our ship is on course for Antarctica."
Sea Shepherd, whose vessels harass the Japanese whaling fleet to prevent them slaughtering whales, had previously said its ships would journey north to head off the harpoonists before they reached Antarctica.
"Apparently they believed it," Watson said.
"Their coastguard mobilised and they went to a great deal of expense and effort to sneak quietly out of port.
"Of course we had no intention of heading north at all. We are waiting for them in the south, but before they reach the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary."
The Steve Irwin, Sea Shepherd's flagship, left its Melbourne dock on November 5. It is not known where Watson boarded the vessel.
Takaaki Sakamoto, an official at Japan's fisheries agency, said: "We will discuss with relevant ministries how Japan will react to Watson's being on board."
He declined to disclose information on the whereabouts of Japan's whaling ships, citing fears of attacks by Sea Shepherd.
Watson, who for years has harassed Japan's whale hunt, was arrested in Germany in May for extradition to Costa Rica over the shark finning incident in 2002. He says the charges are politically motivated, driven by Tokyo.
He said it had been a long, four-month journey from Germany.
"Across two oceans and countless rivers, over three mountain ranges, across a desert, over lakes, and through dozens of cities and towns," he said.
"A trifle inconvenient without a passport or any form of identification and all the more difficult without credit cards or access to ATM machines, without access to the Internet or even a cellphone."
Sea Shepherd's ninth campaign, named Operation Zero Tolerance, is its largest against Japan's whale hunt and involves four ships, a helicopter, three drones and more than 100 crew members.
Three of the vessels, the Steve Irwin, Bob Barker and Brigitte Bardot, are all at sea while the Sam Simon is at an undisclosed location.
Confrontations between the whalers and activists have escalated in recent years and the Japanese cut their hunt short in early 2011 due to Sea Shepherd harassment.
Japan hunts whales using a loophole in a global moratorium that allows killing the sea mammals for what it calls "scientific research", although the meat is later sold openly in shops and restaurants.
Watson said he believed that Japan would one day move to protecting whales and he hoped this would be the last year Sea Shepherd makes the "long, expensive and dangerous voyage" to the Southern Ocean.
"But we will return again next year and the year after that, and every year thereafter until the whale killing is ended," he said.
Paul Watson, Canadian founder and president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, attends a demonstration in Berlin in May 2012. Watson, who is wanted by Interpol, has confirmed he is back onboard a Sea Shepherd vessel and ready to confront Japanese whalers.
File photo of the Sea Shepherd ship 'Steve Irwin' is shown in Melbourne. The ship left Melbourne on November 5 to join Sea Shepherd's ninth campaign, named Operation Zero Tolerance. The new operation is its largest against Japan's whale hunt.
The Interpol website shows a computer-generated image of fugitive eco-warrior Paul Watson, the founder of marine conservation group Sea Shepherd. Watson, who for years has harassed Japan's whale hunt, was arrested in Germany in May for extradition to Costa Rica over the shark finning incident in 2002. He says the charges are politically motivated, driven by Tokyo.
Of course, the court ruling is being ignored. Full speed ahead.
Japanese Whalers Fire Their First Shot of the Season ? at Sea Shepherd
Commentary by Captain Paul Watson
It looks like the Japanese whaling fleet is ready to rumble. They fired their opening shot today by having the United States 9th District Court issue an injunction against Sea Shepherd and Captain Paul Watson, specifically.
The court order was a single page e-mail granting the injunction despite the fact that the preliminary injunction was denied in February 2012 by Judge Richard Jones in Seattle.
In a completely unprecedented move, the preliminary injunction was granted by three judges on the 9th Circuit before a hearing has taken place and before the trial on this matter slated for September 2013.
It is a complex situation whereby a United States Court is issuing an injunction against Dutch and Australian vessels carrying an international crew, operating out of Australia and New Zealand in international waters and the waters of the Australian Antarctic Economic Zone. In addition the Court has ignored the fact that the Japanese whalers are in contempt of a court order by the Australian Federal Court and the whaling takes place in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
What is the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society going to do?
Sea Shepherd?s position is clear: Our ships, officers and crew are 100% committed to achieving a zero-kill quota on whales. This is Operation Zero Tolerance and 120 crewmembers from 26 different nations are prepared to risk their lives to defend endangered and protected whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Sea Shepherd is committed to defending the integrity of this internationally established sanctuary.
What is the purpose of a whale sanctuary codified into international law if Japan can kill whales within its territorial waters while in contempt of the Australian Federal Court?
We expect that the Japanese whaling fleet was waiting for this ruling before departing from Japan. They will find when they arrive that we will still be there guarding the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary with our ships and our lives.
?We will defend these whales as we have for the last eight years ? non-violently and legally,? said Captain Paul Watson.