Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Whale Wars: High Seas Clashes

LRAD on a British warshipIn the freezing Antarctic waters, things are heating up between Sea Shepherd and the Japanese whaling fleet.
Since sailing, Steve Irwin has been tailed by Shonan Maru 2 which is relaying their position to the fleet. After several water cannon clashes, the Japanese have now escalated the action by using an LRAD (Long Range Acoustical Device). This military-class weapon emits a high-frequency sound higher than the normal human threshold of pain. At maximum level, it can permanently damage hearing and cause nausea and disorientation. LRADs were designed for/have been used against rioters, pirates and in active war zones such as Iraq.
Shonan Maru IISM2's crew aimed the LRAD at SS's helicopter, both extremely dangerous and grossly irresponsible. Immediately after the helicopter retreated to SI, SM2 used water cannons in an attempt to destroy it on the landing pad. Both boats then dashed through a dangerous ice field with the Japanese ship reportedly taking a big hit. SM2 followed SI into French waters without permission, thus undertaking an illegal pursuit.
Japanese try blasting heli off deck with water cannonsIn 2007 and 2008, SS's activities reduced the Japanese catches to 60-75% of expected figures, but the fleet seems very determined this year. It'll be aware that Japan's new Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has signalled no future for whaling. He promises to stop wastage of taxpayer money, of which the whaling industry is a prime example: this year's Antarctic hunt will be propped up by 795 million yen (US$8.8 million) of taxpayer money. It already operates at a loss due to lack of demand for whale meat - the wholesale price of whale meat has just been lowered for the second time this year in an effort to stimulate the low demand. the wierd and wonderful 'stealth' vessel, the Ady Gil
PS: 24 Dec.2009 - The high-speed "stealth" protest trimaran Ady Gil has now joined the fray, using a laser to distract the whalers...the Japanese are crying foul!
PS: see my update 03 Jan.2010.

No comments: