Sea Shepherd announced today that they have decided to give up their Operation Musashi campaign against the Japanese whaling fleet for this season, citing the whalers’ increasingly violent and dangerous tactics in the Antarctic.
“I have said always said that we would do everything we can short of hurting people to end illegal whaling in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary,” said Captain Paul Watson. “Although we are willing to take the risks required, even to our own lives, I am not prepared to do to the Japanese whalers what they do to the whales and the escalating violence by the whalers will result in some serious injuries and possibly fatalities if this confrontation continues to escalate.”
Watson still called the campaign a success because his organization prevented the Japanese from hunting whales for nearly a month and a half.
However, three Sea Shepherd crew members inquired injuries from Japanese attacks, mostly stemming from their surprising use of long-range acoustic device weaponry. The campaign was halted only four days early, but at the rate that confrontations were escalating, Watson said it was no longer worth the risk.
The Steve Irwin faced an tough challenge against three harpoon ships the last few weeks. Sea Shepherd collided with Japanese ships on two occasions, one of which was documented by the whalers and spread across the internet.
Watson dismissed claims that he intentionally rammed the Japanese ships.
“The whalers and their hired PR flunkies can say whatever they want now but we have over 1,000 hours of video footage documenting every moment of the campaign. Our story will be told on a weekly series on Animal Planet with the show Whale Wars. People can watch and judge for themselves. The camera is the most powerful weapon in the world and we intend to demonstrate that power.”
Apparently Japan also realizes the damage that the Whale Wars footage had on their image: Sea Shepherd has received word that Japan dispatched a ship called the Taiyo Maru #38 from Fiji last week with orders to find, board, and capture the Steve Irwin vessel and all video footage on board. Perhaps this could have had a hand in Watson’s decision to abort the campaign early?
More posts about Sea Shepherd:
- Greenpeace vs. Sea Shepherd: An Unfortunate Conflict
- Whalers Fend Off Sea Shepherd with Hi-Tech Acoustic Weapons
- New ‘Whale Wars’ TV Show Documents Anti-Whaling Activists
- Japan Plans to Arrest Sea Shepherd Crew
- Sea Shepherd Now has Former US Navy Lieutenant Onboard
- Animal Planet, Daryl Hannah Join Sea Shepherd Crew For More Whale Wars
- “Madagascar Two” Movie Inaccurate According to Sea Shepherd
- Australia, Greenpeace Opt Out of This Winter’s ‘Whale Wars’
- Japan Accuses Animal Planet of EcoTerrorism Prior to “Whale Wars” Premiere
Photo Credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society