Monday, 7 February 2011

Will It All End Before It All Ends In Tears?

Because the way things are shaping up in the Southern Ocean, tears could well be on the cards. I won't go into the rules of the road on this post, but tomorrow I shall put together a little 101 on basic safety at sea for those of you who might not be over familiar with said rules.

At the end off the day, this business abomination is like any other business, profit motivated. I shudder to think what the outlay is for keeping six vessels like they they do down there in the Sixties and Seventies. Sooner or later the Japanese will call it a day, simply because Sea Shepherd won't.

Tiocfaidh ár lá or should that be; their day will come, the big fellows' day.

Southern Ocean Shutout: Whale Warriors Holding Fleet to Zero Kills

The Sea Shepherd’s Southern Ocean season—“Operation no Compromise”—is more than half over. Early reports suggest that the anti-whaling brigands are in the midst of their most successful campaign yet: Very few—if any—whales have been taken by the Japanese hunting fleet, and no ships have been sunk on either side. Yet.

There’s been plenty of verbal slugging since the annual hunt began in December, as well as bamboo spears sent flying, by the Japanese!

Brigands indeed!

Hey up Ted! you're a reet bugger at times.

Over the weekend, lead-Shepherd Captain Paul Watson accused the Japanese of making a false “Mayday” distress call from the Southern Ocean last Friday, claiming it was “under attack” by the anti-whalers.

Watson admits he and his gang had deployed its typical weaponry: prop foulers (wire ropes intended to damage engines), and stink and paint bombs—resulting in the return fire of those bamboo spears—but that the Sea Shepherd boats were hardly close to ramming the Japanese whaling ship.

“They said they were in distress, and we were standing by,” Watson told the AP. “The Gojira [the Shepherd’s new attack ship, named after Godzilla] is right beside them, and they refuse to answer our calls.”

According to Watson, the Japanese ship Yushin Maru No. 3 was the aggressor, coming just 10 feet from the Gojira's hull in a maneuver that could have cut the ship in two.

Given the remoteness of the battleground, news from the front comes in alternating he-said/she-said issuances from the two opposing forces. The truth (or an edited version of it) will come out later in the year: an Animal Planet film crew is on board for the fourth consecutive season, documenting the high-seas intervention for Whale Wars.

The whaling season ends mid-March. So far this year, the Shepherds have coordinated three ships, a helicopter and 88 crewmembers to chase the Japanese whaling fleet more than 5,000 miles. Early on, the interventionists isolated and cut off the fleet's refueling vessel—the Sun Laurel—and have kept a constant tail on two of its three harpoon boats.

Watson checked in from port in New Zealand, where he’d taken the Shepherd’s lead ship, the Steve Irwin, for fuel and supplies.

“They have taken very close to zero [whales],” he says, suggesting the current operations may be “our most successful yet.” Watson hopes the Shepherds' nonstop harassment off Antarctica will finally convince the Japanese to give up its “scientific” hunt.

Where whaling commission edicts and international protest have failed, a combination of the seaborne obstructions, new Japanese tax laws, falling meat sales and being caught in a whale-meat black market scandal may bring an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean.

Watson and his cohorts seem to be killing it on the fundraising front as well. The Shepherds recently raised a giant electronic billboard in Times Square, depicting a breaching whale about to be harpooned. The billboard is the media-savvy nonprofit’s first stab at outdoor advertising.

And outdoors seems to be where they do their best work. Take Part

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