Sea Shepherd, the controversial direct-action anti-whaling group featured on Animal Planet’s Whale Wars, is currently facing retaliation from the Japanese whaling ships in the form of what Sea Shepherd calls a “military grade weapon system that sends out mid to high frequency sound waves designed to disorient and possibly incapacitate personnel.”
If their description is accurate, the Japanese are acting out of accordance with international law by deploying military weapons in the Antarctic Treaty Zone. But breaking international law wouldn’t be anything new for the whalers, who by some interpretations should not even be in the Antarctic at all.
Sea Shepherd found the Japanese whaling fleet for the second time this seaon earlier today. The group’s ship, called the Steve Irwin, had to return to dock for refueling and had not engaged with the Japanese in over a month.
“We are 7 miles from the fleet and approaching. We see the Nisshin Maru and two harpoon vessels the Yushin Maru #1 and the Yushin Maru #2,” said Captain Paul Watson earlier today. “They appear to be whaling and are not moving. If we don’t catch up with them before they begin to move, we are close enough now that we will not lose the Nisshin Maru.”
Sea Shepherd believes that three ships in the Japanese whaling fleet are equipped with Long Range Acoustical Devices (LRAD).
In adition to the acoustic attacks, Captain Paul Watson said that one Sea Shepherd crew member was injurred after being fired upon with a water cannon and that the Japanese had also been throwing solid lead weights into their inflatable boats, presumably in an attempt to sink them.
Photo Credit: Sea Shepherd