Greenpeace 'heads off whale ship' (BBC News)

SN NewsCaster
14th January 2008, 12:00
Greenpeace says it has chased off a factory ship from a Japanese whaling mission near Antarctica's coast.

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14th January 2008, 23:35
Whilst welcoming the news I find it hard to believe that Greenpeace has actually chased the Japanese factory vessel off the hunting grounds. Much more likely that they detected it when it was heading off to transfer cargo and/or replenish. Greenpeace has been chastened in recent years by its newer rival/colleague organisation Sea Shepherd accusing it of having lost its activist edge and, basically, becoming too soft. They are probably, therefor, endeavouring to gain maximum kudos from being the first to actually detect the whale killers. And they do deserve the credit for that; where, incidentally, is the Australian Federal Government vessel that was supposed, according to PM Rudd, scare the sushi out of the Japanese?

Gavin Gait
14th January 2008, 23:40
It only sailed 3 days ago , the news reports on BBCnews24 ( they have a reporter on board ) are consistent with them disrupting the hunt as they did catch the Nissin Maru off guard and they are still steaming North away from the Ice at 12knts for the second or third day. The likelyhood is that the Nissin Maru is simply going to do a RAS and refuel/food so she can refuel the catchers as they know that the Greenpeace ship has to return to port soon as they are running low on fuel

Tony Breach
15th January 2008, 11:13

That is interesting. One wonders what sort of risk assesment has been made by either Greenpeace or Sea Shepherd & what back-up they have in case of mechanical breakdown or other possible serious occurence. If they were to cut their fuel margin too close & get a spell of bad weather they could also have a problem. We know about the rust from the BBC reporter - the Jonah they have on board - but how old & in what condition are the ships they are using? It's a very remote & inhospitable part of the world if anything should go wrong.


Gavin Gait
15th January 2008, 11:24
Sea Shepherd have only 1 course of action if they were in the Greenpeace position and that would be to ram the Nissin Maru to try and disable/sink it ( sinking it would be their main aim ). The boats that Greenpeace use are pretty old , usually ex-tugs/oil supply vessels ( don't think they have any ex-trawlers left ) , so reliability would be a big concern. Sea shepherd use 1 ex-trawler and the ex-Scottish Fishery Protection Agencies FPV Westra which they have renamed "Steve Irwin" and used to ram one of the catchers last year

15th January 2008, 13:06
The Japanese, according Ch 4 news last night, were complaining that Greenpeace's activities were illegal. I'm not sure how. Sea Shepherd's may well be, of course, if they do ram a Japanese vessel.

Don Matheson
15th January 2008, 13:08
Just heard on the radio (BBC Radio Scotland) that several Greenpeace crew went onboard a Japanese ship to hand over a captain to captain letter.
The Greenpeace crew were then beaten up, secured on the deck and the Japanese ship has steamed away with the crewmen still on board.
Sorry I dont have a link to this but I am sure there is much more to come,

SN NewsCaster
15th January 2008, 14:10
Two activists who boarded a Japanese whaling ship to protest are taken into custody, officials confirm.

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Gavin Gait
15th January 2008, 15:37
Its 2 of the Sea Shepherd nutters that have been captured by the Japanese. They were throwing glass bottles full of acid at the Japanese crew before boarding the catcher. Well from my point of view if you throw acid in an attempt to injure people and then go on to board the vessel that is an act of high seas piracy. I do NOT agree with the whaling at all , BUT , I believe that it will only be stopped by political pressure. I personally believe that the Sea Shepherd group are a terrorist organisation who look to sink the whalers ships , which would cause untold damage to the environment due to leaking diesel/heavy fuel oil/lube oil/etc as well as the serious risk to life and limb of the crews.

15th January 2008, 15:48
If anyone attempts to board a vessel underway in the Malacca Straits, it's automatically considered as piracy, so what difference does it make when the event takes place in the Antarctic Ocean?

Whether or not you are anti whaling, myself included, this behaviour is unacceptable and illegal.

16th January 2008, 01:54
Okay, its started again as I knew it would. Can we please have this discussion without making disparaging comments and automatically attaching insults to references to Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd personnel. The boarding of the Japanese vessel by two people from the Sea Shepherd vessel in order to present the master of that vessel with a letter informing him that the activities of his vessel were illegal followed, not unsurprisingly, with the Japanese detaining the boarders. This is an emotive situation and accusation and counter accusation will inevitably flow on from both sides. Nothing is added to this debate by comments of the type, "2 of the Sea Shepherd nutters."
It is worth adding that Sea Shepherd have always maintained that none of their activities are directly aimed at harming any members of the Japanese crews. Bottles that were thrown were, according to Sea Shepherd, thrown onto the decks of the Japanese catcher. I have not seen it specified anywhere what the contents were other than the Japanese claim that it was acid. Now you can apply scepticism to this, but the same should be applied to claims from the other side. As to the illegality of boarding vessels at sea, I seem to recall a very lengthy thread that ran for a long time last year concerning the boarding of a merchant vessel in disputed waters at the head of the Arabian Gulf by British naval personnel. Many members got extremely heated in their assertions that all right and justification for the original action and what followed lay with the British. So, leaving aside the justification of the strength of arms, what difference is there in this incident, remembering that the Japanese fleet are engaged in an illegal activity within Australian waters?

John Briggs
16th January 2008, 04:11
.......remembering that the Japanese fleet are engaged in an illegal activity within Australian waters?

cboots, you have fallen into your own trap by making the above statement. As much as we all may despise whaling, the Japanese are doing nothing illegal. Australia claims territorial rights over the waters in question but not one country in the world accepts or recognises that claim.
Boarding a ship at sea, for whatever reason, against the wishes of the master is definitely illegal

16th January 2008, 09:46
From what I can gather, there is a huge question mark as to whether killing these whales is legal or not and could be challenged in the courts later.

Scientific research is permitted under a clause in International Whaling Commission rules. Australia and other nations say the same research could be achieved using non-lethal methods calling the research programme a front for commercial whaling.

These are the words of of the worlds nations, not protesters of radical groups.

Australia has a patrol ship in the area that plans to video the whalers for a possible legal challenge.

That is the way forward because any legal challenge would have international backing. As Davie says, it can only be stopped by political pressure.

The actions of protesters is doing far more harm than good. Boarding another countries ship is not the way to do it and simply inflames the situation. They should make their objections known to political leaders as indeed we all do. None of us like to see whales hunted to extinction, and I don't think anybody believes the Japanese are hunting them for research.

However, there are way and means of doing things and it is not illegally boading ships, throwing acid or any other action that is seen as an act of piracy or terrorism.


16th January 2008, 10:58
If the Captain invited them and had his crew hang a ladder over the side it would hardly be "illegal". Now if he had posted signs saying: "Authorised Personnel Only", it would be.
If the bottles contained tomato juice it can legally be called acid.
Who was there to analyse the "liquid" if there was any?

Gavin Gait
16th January 2008, 11:49
The film clearly showed the Sea Shepherd nutters jumping aboard over a low rail against the wishes of the crew so definitely an illegal act

Mike S
16th January 2008, 12:28
The boarding was illegal. It was not piracy.......As they said in the Goons.
"It was a publicity stunt."

The High Court of Australia has handed down a decision today.,21985,23056154-662,00.html

Another reference to whale sanctuaries.

The Oceanic Viking left Fremantle a few days ago. She is a P&0 former seismic vessel I believe with a good steaming range and customs officers on board. She is chartered to the Austrlian Customs Service.
She is also lightly armed however the weapons are stowed. She is heading for the area at this moment and the Government have said that they will be cooperating with Greenpeace to a certain extent. My supposition is that they have held her back until Greenpeace found the fleet and will take over the watch when they get there and allow Greenpeace to refuel.
The orders of the Oceanic Viking are said to be to video and gather evidence for a challenge against the whalers in the International Courts.
The actions of Sea Shepherd are counter productive. Under the circumstances however not surprising.
As for the legality of the Australian Whale Sanctuary, it is in the area of the Southern Ocean that comes under the control of Australia when search and rescue is involved. The High Court of Australia seems to have ruled on the assumption that it is legal. I guess it must be. As for lack of support from any other country.......?!
The next few weeks are going to be very interesting. Do not underestimate the very strong feeling in this country against whaling. Emotions are running very high here. We have long ago banned Japanese Tuna long liners from our ports with the exception of Hobart I believe and I could be wrong here. So we have taken action against them before.

It would be good if this can be discussed in a quiet and sensible manner however my long experience of forums leads me to think that is a pipe dream so I have put on my Nomex Fire Suit. Flame away.....

16th January 2008, 12:36
Mike S

A very good and informative post. Many thanks.


16th January 2008, 13:31
Just been listening to BBC’s Radio2 lunch time programme hosted by Jeremy Vine, with live link to the Sea Shepherd organisation’s Captain of “The Steve Irwin“ (On the Radio2 message board an Eve West of Oxford, mentions the ship’s name “The Steve Irwin“ is an acknowledgment to a great conservationist).

Captain of the “The Steve Irwin“ (can’t find his name), explained it is (only) bottles of rancid, stinking (acidic) butter-fat they’re throwing at the whaling ships - but didn’t explain why !!

Followed by live-link to Japanese Foreign Office official who explained they have to kill the whales to investigate the ear-wax (apparently you can count the layers of ear-wax - similar to the rings in the trunk of a tree), to calculate the age of the whale. WHY!!

Another very pertinent comment on the Radio2 message board by a Bernard Light of Essex: “If the Japanese had no market for whale meat, would they still be conducting scientific research in the Antarctic“.

Mike S
16th January 2008, 23:05
The interesting thing is that the Japanese have freezers full of whale meat they cannot sell and they are trying very hard to interest the younger generation.
However the youngsters prefer Macdonalds......!
The feeling here in Aussie is that we are seeing a prime example of Japanese "Bushido" and the best way to deal with that is to cause them to feel embarrassed.
Very much a case of watch this space I feel. One thing I would like to say is that if you have ever seen a large humpback or any other whale close to you would never understand why any one would want to kill it. They are the most beautiful creatures.
I was lying off Albany years ago on the tug waiting to bring in a ship. Not long after the whaling ceased in that port (1979). It was a cold damp drizzling early morning and the sea on the port side suddenly parted and a humpback slowly broke the surface. The tug was 75 ft long and the whale was around the same length. It rolled slightly and looked at us and looking into that eye that morning I realised that those animals have soul. It blew and slowly swam away...........
A memory I will hold forever.........

16th January 2008, 23:40
As it is very apparent that some of those posting on this thread are unable to express their views without the addition of insults to those who hold the opposite view, I shall restrict my comments to one area. We keep getting repeated the message, "Oh I am against whaling but I don't agree with those taking any action to stop it." We went all through this on the thread discussing the same topic last whale killing season. The Japanese have been conducting an annual whale kill every year for sometime now using the excuse that it is for scientific purposes only. No one outside of the confines of the pro-whale killing lobby believes this excuse. It was not until organisations such Greenpeace, and more recently Sea Shepherd, started taking direct action against the whale killing fleet that the whole issue gained more than a passing mention in the mainstream media. The Australian federal government did not suddenly become aware of the whale kill, people had been lobbying for years about it only to be ignored beyond the mildest of diplomatic protests - we sell a lot of coal and oil and gas to the Japanese. It was not until it became a major matter of public concern, it having been thrust into the mainstream media by the actions of Sea Shepherd, that they felt obligated to take some form of action. Now, we can all sit back in our arm chairs and exclaim, "Oh, how absolutely shocking, those dreadfull Japanese are out there killing those beautiful whales that I do love so dearly." And then in the next breath, assuming one's cloak of nautical expertise, " But I certainly do not approve of those long haired, lentil eating activists who are out there risking their own lives and limbs to try and stop the slaughter happening." No mate, if someone is killing Bambi on your front lawn you go out there and try to stop them - if you really do care about Bambi that is.
Now why am I not down there in the Antarctic with them eh? Because I'm too old and too scared. I just lack the courage of those "Sea Shepherd nutters." Bit I'll wager a hundred bucks to a pinch of you know what that none of the rest of you would have the guts to do what they do either.

Mike S
17th January 2008, 01:17
I have to agree with your sentiment Cboots and I am sure those on the Oceanic Viking would love to pull the covers off those 50 cals and give that Factory ship a quick tickle in the steering flat.
However we all know that is not the way it is done nor should it be.
Yes Sea Shepherd has once again brought this into sharp focus and has succeeded in getting it into the worlds media. Greenpeace have been at it just as long and have put themselves between the harpoon and the whale on many occasions in the past.
These activists are doing what many of us would love to be able to do however cannot.
That does not make it legal of course but as I have said it sure does not make it piracy either!
It is also worthy of note that we have had a change of Government since the last season and while not wishing to bring politics into the mess it is relevant in this case.
Now lets see what our mates in the ACS can come up with. They man the border and are a dedicated lot.....and Oceanic Viking has the runs on the board already. Remember that 3 week chase into the weather hounding that illegal Tooth Fish poacher? Got that one even if there were some legal niceties afterwards.(Thumb)

SN NewsCaster
17th January 2008, 08:00
Australia says it will send a ship to collect two activists from a whaling vessel, in a bid to end a two-day stand-off.

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17th January 2008, 09:53
One of those that boarded the Japanese vessel comes from my area. His girlfriend was on local TV last night. She was worried about him saying he was tied to the rails which the Japanese deny.

I certainly have to agree with Cboots that none of us would have the guts to do what they do. These activists are after all trying to protect animals who cannot defend themselves, wonderful creatures like the whale Mike S saw and has left lasting memories. Mike S is also right, these activists are doing what many of us would want to do. Somebody has to protect dumb animals, they certainly can't be criticised for that.

The debate is how to do that. Yes, they need media attention but they surely do themselves no favours by using violence when seeking public support and indeed support of other nations. No country could suport that, not openly anyway?. In an earlier clip I saw on TV activists was trying to sink a ship by ramming it.

As far as I understand it, the activists aboard Sea Shepherd are more extreme than Greenpeace, the latter prefer non violent protest.

I think we all agree that cruelty cannot be tolerated be it human to human or human to animal and that it is wrong to hunt anything to extinction cruel or otherwise. World governments have not banned commercial whaling for the fun of it.

Therefore, the six million dollar question is what is the best way of stopping the Japanese killing these whales whether research or whatever without being shot in the foot like these activists have done being seen as terrorists or whatever rather than friends of the whale.

There must surely be peaceful ways of getting the same message over?.


Mike S
18th January 2008, 04:11
Very well put Pompeyfan. Sorry to sound like a mutual appreciation society folks however we do seem to be on the same wavelength.
Some observations on the role of the Australian Customs Service. We do not have a coast guard in Aussie, our borders are manned by the ACS. They run the primary line at airports and ports and other points of entry into Australia. They also patrol our seas and very often they are the ones that deal with the illegal fishermen that intrude into our waters from Indonesia. The RAN is heavily involved there too however they hand over to ACS at some stage.
The ACS have the power to board and inspect all vessels in Australian waters and even have to be provided with accommodation and food while doing so. (Nice touch that!)
Nothing unusual I guess however I mention this to give some background into the reason why the Oceanic Viking is the vessel in the area and not the RAN. She is the correct authority to be there.
The High Court of Australia has apparently agreed with the concept of the Whale Sanctuary. Oceanic Viking is there to carry out the law and as I see it if the whalers intrude back into the Sanctuary then maybe the ACS has the right to board. I don't know but I do know that they have boarded many vessels and these guys are not pussies.........they are fully armed and trained enforcement officers. As Master I would not refuse them access. In fact in Australian waters a Master cannot refuse them access....QED
I do not think that will be their role in this case but you never know.
It is going to get very interesting.
Oh yes and while all these semantics are being discussed the whales are not being hunted. That has to be a plus!

SN NewsCaster
18th January 2008, 06:10
An Australian ship returns two activists who boarded a Japanese whaler to their own vessel, ending a stand-off.

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Gavin Gait
31st January 2008, 15:55

Very interesting that the Japanese Coastguard are chasing the Sea Shepherd boat...... a few thousand miles from the coast of Japan and possibly on shaky legal grounds

Mike S
31st January 2008, 23:51
That has raised the stakes a tad.
As for the Oceanic Viking being unarmed. The guns are stowed......big difference.
ACS Enforcement Officers are always armed.
If and it is a very big if the ACS were required to board a vessel outside the 200 mile limit then there would be a very serious consideration as to whether they would be armed or not. Boarding an unarmed merchant vessel would have to be considered as well.
The "Thot Plickens" as they say...........

Gavin Gait
16th April 2008, 00:12

23rd December 2008, 01:02
I was going to stay away from this topic but I just can't keep quiet here. For the past month there has been a weekly documentary on tv called "Whale Wars" which chronicles the efforts of the Sea Shepherds and their ship STEVE IRWIN. I do not condone the harvesting of whales but honestly, these Sea Shepherds PISS ME OFF! They have a crew of inexperienced volunteer tree huggers most of whom know NOTHING about the sea and are led by a group of officers with what I consider questionable credentials and the captain is a chubby moron named Paul Watson who is constantly concocting ways to endanger someones life and welfare in his quest to make a name for himself.
In the incident where two members of the IRWIN crew boarded a Japanese whaler..........They were placed on board that ship which to me was illegal to begin with........THEN as soon as they were aboard the Japanese ship, the captain of the IRWIN gets on the phone to the press saying that two members of his crew were KIDNAPPED! They weren't kidnapped,.....They were TRESPASSING but Watson was looking for sympathy. Whether or not the Japanese are doing something illegal or not by whaling, I don't know..........What I DO know is that the crew of the IRWIN has NOT been given authority to enforce nor to interpret the law.....AND it seems to me that one vessel purposely ramming another is STILL A CRIME.
I think Paul Watson should be imprisoned. His methods and his logic are TWISTED!