Whaling fleet being harassed, Japan says


The government on Monday slammed the conservation group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society for employing dangerous tactics to obstruct the operations of Japanese whaling vessels in the Antarctic Ocean over the weekend, causing one of them to suffer damage to its stern.

“It was a very dangerous act and can never be condoned,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.

Japan has asked the Netherlands to prevent a recurrence, as the Sea Shepherd group’s vessels fly under Dutch flags, he said.

According to a statement released by the Japanese fleet engaged in so-called research whaling, the Japanese harpoon vessels Yushin Maru, Yushin Maru No. 2 and Yushin Maru No. 3 “were subject to sabotage” by the Sea Shepherd ships Steve Irwin and Bob Barker.

It said inflatable boats sent from the Sea Shepherd vessels deployed ropes in front of the bows of the Japanese vessels, one of which became entangled in the Yushin Maru’s propeller, while the Bob Barker collided with the stern of the Yushin Maru No. 3, bending its rail and denting the hull.

Sea Shepherd called Japan’s account of what happened “an absolute lie” and released footage it said shows an “unprovoked, ruthless and premeditated” attack by the Japanese vessels on the Sea Shepherd ships that lasted for nine hours Sunday morning.

It said the Japanese vessels crossed the bows of the Sea Shepherd ships dozens of times, towing 300 meter-long steel cables intended to ensnare and damage their propellers.

  • Adey May

    The radical imperialist whale killers are out of control. Not content invading Australia’s EEZ and whale sanctuaries, they are now playing pirates!
    Remember what they did to the Ady gil? Go home, whalers, you are not wanted in the southern ocean.

    • Lee Vann

      Do you even have any idea what a Radical Imperialist is? Because the Japan of today bears no resemblance to a Radical Imperialist.

      And if Australia really did not want Japan fishing in the area, they have a perfectly good navy they can send. Outsourcing to Eco-terrorist is not a good idea.

      And until the ICJ rules, what japan is doing is still within their rights under the treaty. What Sea Shepherd is doing is like unto high seas piracy. They are lucky that Japan is such a pacifist nation. Most other nations would start sinking anyone who attacks their ships on a regular basis.

      • Darryl McGarry

        We wiill have to wait and see if Japan becomes a “radical imperialist” again. Right now, they are not being sensitive and cultured showing respect for tradition hunting on an industrial scale whales while abusing an international convention. While you might be right that what Sea Shepherd is doing smashing into Japanese whalers is wrong, I do not think the international community is really that concerned about how the Japanese fair. You reap what you sow. If the Japanese government sent part of the Japanese Navy down on a mission to protect those inglorious whalers from Sea Sheperd, I am pretty sure there would be a bigger Australian naval presence in the region – keeping an eye on those Japanese gunboats not too far from Australian soil. New Zealand might even chip in, too. Why? Japan would be projecting its “power” too far. We have met and defeated that challenge in the past. We can do it again.