Sea Shepherd vs Japan High Seas Conflict


B. McPherson
Sea Shepherd Society 2013 Zero Tolerance Campaign

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s efforts to thwart the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean led to violence and damage to vessels today. The Steve Irwin and Bob Barker Sea Shepherd vessels as well as a South Korean refueling vessel Sun Laurel suffered damage. 

Details about the confrontation as the Sea Shepherd vessels attempted to block refueling of the Japanese processing ship Nisshin Maru are coming out gradually. The Japanese version is that the Sea Shepherd group deliberately rammed the factory ship as it attempted to refuel.

Details posted by conservation group differ considerably. They outline the positions of their three vessels to block refueling. Their version puts the  Nisshin Maru as the aggressor with the much larger vessel deliberately attacking and ramming from the rear. The damage to the Bob Barker extensive with power out, radar damaged and water in the engine room. The environmental group reports that when a distress call was issued, the Japanese vessel fled the scene.

The area in the Southern Ocean is supposed to be a sanctuary for whales and no commercial whaling is allowed. The loophole is whale research is allowed. While other countries do no kill, no harm research, Japan persists in maintaining that they need to kill approximately 1000 of the animals to do research on them. Meat from the dead mammals reaches the commercial markets.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has engaged the Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic Ocean for years now, attempting to thwart the thinly disguised poaching. Check out their web page for more details about this incident.

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