Sea Shepherd versus the Whalers

melbourne_071125_Robert_Hunter_arrives The world of environmental advocacy is polarizing at best. You either agree with them, or you label them a bunch of green pansies. I am of the first, and if I had the cash, would be a part of them. I hope one day to be able to get out there on to the ocean, or in to the wild, and do my part for our environment. For now though, I get to write about it; a privilege.

So it was with great joy that I saw that Greenpeace weren’t the only ones taking a dim view to Japan’s whaling fleet.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is, essentially, a darker green than Greenpeace. They like to get their hands a little dirty, and “push the envelope” according to one member, Peter Hammarstedt.

Only 23 years old, he has been involved with the Sea Shepherd’s for the past four years or, as he likes to joke, ever since he was old enough to do so. He serves as first officer aboard the Robert Hunter, an old Scottish fisheries boat that is set to leave Melbourne this week.

Their mission is to chase down the Japanese whaling fleet, and give them ‘what for.’

Paul Watson, captain of the Robert Hunter, last year threatened to ram Japanese whalers with a giant “can opener” stuck to the front of his ship. Though not followed through on, the Japanese ships know of Watson and the Sea Shepherd’s reputations, and don’t just stand idly by.

“Everything is on the table as long as it’s non-violent. I would rule nothing out.” He added: “When we show up, the fleet tends to go on the run because of our reputation. When we’re pursuing them at high speed, they can’t hunt.”

They plan to save as many whales as possible, seeing the harpooning of whales as an illegal activity, no different than “…ripping a gun out of the hands of a poacher.”

Already being tailed (or lead?) by the Greenpeace vessel Esperanza, and the newly elected Australian government has pledged military support to monitor the whaling.

All in all, the Japanese are not adding up to “favorable” in the public opinion. And hopefully, the Robert Hunter will be able to protect as many whales as possible.

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