Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Free To Fight On

A US judge has declined to restrain the activities of anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd.
The judge said he's denying a request for an injunction made by Japanese whalers, the Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR). ICR says SS has attacked and rammed its ships off Antarctica during the whaling season, and asked the judge to stop them.
SS uses stink bombs, prop foulers and other non-lethal means to interfere with the whalers. The group argues its activities are supported by international law, that the court doesn't have jurisdiction in the Southern Ocean, and that it's the whalers who've rammed its vessels.
ICR says their whalers are "entitled to be free from attack by what are essentially self-proclaimed pirates." Japan's whaling fleet kills up to 1,000 whales a year, an self-granted exception under a loophole in a ruling by the International Whaling Commission. Japan is permitted to hunt the animals as long as they're caught for "research" and not commercial purposes. Whale meat not used for study is sold as food in Japan, which we all know is the real reason for the hunts...
SS regularly launches or throws bottles containing paint or butyric acid at the whaling vessels. "A crew member could be blinded in such an attack," says Tomoyuki Ogawa, captain of the factory ship Nisshin
Maru. "These attacks also cause fear in the crew, thus interfering with the prompt and accurate carrying-out of orders."
SS's Paul Watson says his activists have never injured any whalers. He accuses the whalers of attacking activists with concussion grenades, long-range acoustical devices, bamboo spears, heavy nuts and bolts, and water cannons.
Meanwhile, Bob Barker has resupplied in Wellington NZ, and sails tomorrow for a Southern Ocean rendezvous with Steve Irwin, which is doggedly trying to close the gap with NM.

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