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Whalers get reprieve as protest ship refuels

21 Comments

A group of Australian environmental campaigners were on Saturday forced to withdraw from their high-seas pursuit of Japanese whalers to refuel, giving the harpooners a fortnight to hunt freely.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel has been tailing the Japanese whaling fleet for the past two weeks, chasing them some 3,200 kilometers through ice, rough seas and fog off Antarctica.

Captain Paul Watson says the pursuit has prevented the Japanese from spearing any of the giant sea mammals, by keeping the fleet under pressure and driving them east.

But Watson was forced to abort his campaign on Saturday, as dwindling fuel supplies drove the vessel, the "Steve Irwin", back to shore.

"We have engaged them, we have stopped their whaling activities for two weeks and we have successfully chased them out of the Australian Antarctic Territorial waters," he said.

"We now have to return to land to refuel. It will probably take us two weeks and then we'll be back again."

Watson expressed frustration that the Japanese would have two weeks to hunt at will, but said his crew had no choice.

"We don't have the luxury of refueling at sea like the Japanese fleet has. We don't have the resources to operate two ships down here and we don't have the support of Greenpeace to relieve us. We are doing the best we can with the resources available to us and we are having a significant impact on their kills."

Watson's group is in its fifth year of trailing whalers in the Southern Ocean, where Japan kills hundreds of the mammals a year in the name of scientific research, getting round an international commercial moratorium.

Whale meat is a delicacy in Japan and Tokyo accuses critics of insensitivity to its whaling culture.

© Wire reports

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

21 Comments
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Shouldn't this be an opportunity for the Australian government to arrest this crew of hooligans? Or does the pursuit of a politically correct cause justify all means?

we don’t have the support of Greenpeace to relieve us

Because of their tactics?

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hurry up with your re-fuelling and get back to attacking those murderous whalers!!

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A group of Australian environmental campaigners

Your information in completely wrong. They are not Australian environmental campaigners, they are from many nations. Their ship's home prt is America. They refuel in Australia because it is close to where the Japanese are whaling.

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Under Australian laws, have the whalers commited any crimes to warrant their arrest?

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I guess they ran out of rancid butter...

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Whale meat is a delicacy in Japan and Tokyo accuses critics of insensitivity to its whaling culture.

I find it odd that sometimes the critics cry that it's 'scientific whaling' and then at other times they whinge that the protesters are infringing on their culture. If it's so important culturally to these Japanese, why are the fleet using grenade tipped harpoons in waters near Australia? It would be akin to using a microwave oven and pre-bought green tea from Daiei for a tea ceremony held in America.

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Why on earth is this huge Japanese fleet undertaking a massive expedition to the Antarctic, simply to supply a tiny niche market in Japan?

There are many problems here:

This fleet is dangerous. We have seen a horrible fire on the Nisshin Maru in the recent past which left this big factory ship dead in the water. Imagine if this fire had got out of control and, god forbid, led to a sinking with accompanying oil spill in the pristine Antarctic environment... Is Japan going to be sending a clean up operation in time? Oh wait... there is no clean up operation!

Japan's action is provocative in the extreme to the countries in this region. Hold a globe in your hands, look directly at the Antarctic and which countries do you see?... You will see Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM OPPOSED TO WHALING!! Every single one! These are countries which naturally consider this region to be a part of their neck of the woods. How arrogant can Japan be to ignore every single of them?! A few tonnes of whale meat for ojisans in izakayas are obviously more important than friendly relations with these countries.

The Japanese government has issued data that indicates that there is an abundance of whales in the seas around Japan... more than enough for a tiny niche market. Why not stick to those whales? Why burn all those tonnes of gasoline, release all that greenhouse gas and endanger a pristine environment when you have an abundance of whales on your doorstep?

The Japanese go on and on about how important their whaling "food culture" is. So naturally people around the world wonder... How on earth can Japan's culture stretch to the Antarctic? Is the Antarctic part of Japan's culture too? If the Japanese want to tell the world about how unique and precious their culture is then they should start to think about how unique and precious the Antarctic is too.

There are claims to seas in the area. For example, Australia has a claim to an EEZ off the AAT. It's a controversial claim but a claim nevertheless. Japan also has controversial claims to huge areas of sea in the Pacific. Let's imagine the situation in reverse. Let's imagine a huge fleet of Ozzie fishermen steaming up to Japan's controversially claimed areas to grab sea creatures for their "barbecue culture". Can anyone guess Japan's reaction? I think we all know what it would be...

Posters such as davidattokyo have indicated that the best solution is a "not in my backyard" approach, whereby Japan gives up its Antarctic whaling in return for countries dropping their objections to Japan's whaling in the North Pacific. This is a very sensible idea and I think many here would support it.

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Hope they get back out there soon and continue with their good work

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The headline should read, "Whalers get reprieve as eco-terrorists refuel."

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USNinJapan2, I'm hopin' one of these whalers will stay right on course.

All else is piracy and I don't lose sleep over how pirates meet their end.

Blubber... It's what's around my waist.

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Agreed, glad to see the eco-terrorists have to quit for awhile. The whalers can finally get back to doing their jobs.

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Back to their jobs? Is Japan running low on toxic waste to forcefeed its school children again? Japan has a nasty habit of pissing off other countries with its "culture" crap and one day it will seriousely regret it!

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One of these days the anti-whaling nutroots are going to get a well-deserved punch in the mouth way out in the middle of the ocean. When that happens, I'll chuckle a little to myself and then forget all about them.

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Is it true that the M/V Steve Irwin flies the US flag? Christ why hasn't the Japanese govt brought an action againsat the owning company and arrest the vessel in US Federal Court?

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We don’t have the resources to operate two ships down here and we don’t have the support of Greenpeace to relieve us.

Wow, since when did a reasonable soul start expecting Greenpeace to conduct or aid in terrorism? BTW I like to commend Greenpeace for not resorting to similar unscrupulous means to pursue their cause, despite being on the receiving end of state sponsored terrorism.

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i hope the terrorists are arrested when they get back to australia.

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My heart goes out for the poor whalers. Finally, they get a well deserved chance to carry out their much-needed research into the area of best sushi from endangered species.

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Proud to be an Eco-Terrorist!

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None of the whales being ... err, researched, are endangered species...

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There needs to be an underway replenishment ship made or another ship put into service. There is no "need" for this slaughter! It is being done just to make money and the rest is just excuses.

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Odd the "missing whaler" news hasn't made national headlines yet. Has in Aussie and NZ. Shows priorities I guess.

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