Interview with Sea Shepherd activist (full)

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In the April show we’re featuring a shortened version of an interview with Dan, who has just returned from a mission with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in Antartica. The aim of the mission was to stop the Japanese slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean’s whale sanctuary and Sea Shepherd’s direct action tactics seriously disrupted the operations of the Japanese whaling fleet. Named Operation Migaloo, after the only known albino humpback in the world, this was Sea Shepherd’s fourth expedition to the remote southern waters off the coast of Antarctica and has been typically eventful. Listen to the the full interview here:

Download: mp3 | ogg vorbis

Listen: player in browser

Other: stream link

In January, two Sea Shepherd volunteers were taken hostage by Japanese whalers. Then in March, several of the crew were injured when the Japanese military threw grenades onto the ship and opened fire on them. The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin covered a total of 20,090 nautical miles (37,205 kilometers) during Opertaion Migaloo and made 3 return trips from Melbourne, Australia to the coast of Antarctica in 3½ months. In total, the ship was at sea for 83 days between December 5, 2007 and March 15, 2008. It is estimated that due to continued harrasment by the Sea Shepherd, the Japanese have not managed to get even half their whale quota this hunting season.

The incident in January, which took place prior to Dan joining the crew, occured on January 15 after the activists Benjamin Potts and Giles Lane boarded the Yushin Marun No. 2 to deliver a letter to the vessel’s captain. This stated that the whalers were violating international conservation law by targeting endangered species in an established whale sanctuary and in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling. The hostages were released on January 17 and transferred to the Australian Customs vessel Oceanic Viking before returning to the Steve Irwin. Both men reported that although they were roughed up when they first boarded the whaling ship, that they were treated well during their time onboard. The only injury was a bruised wrist suffered by Lane.

The more recent violence took place after the Steve Irwin had managed to catch up with and confront the main factory/processing ship of the Japanese whaling fleet, the Nisshin Maru. The subsequent attack by Japanese coastguard involved the use of flash grenades. The Captain of the Sea Shepherd ship, Paul Watson, was struck by a bullet in the chest, but fortunately this was stopped by his kevlar vest. Other injuries were sustained by Australian crewmembers Ashley Dunn and Ralph Lowe. Dunn suffered a hip injury as he tried to get out of the way of the exploding grenades while Lowe received bruises to his back when one of the flash grenades exploded behind him. While Dan was onboard during this incident, it has not been reported that he was injured.

Sea Shepherd was founded in 1977 by Paul Watson who had earlier been one of the three instigators of Greenpeace. Watson had come to feel that the tactics employed by that organisation were inadequate. While Greenpeace have a policy of avoiding harm to whaling vessels, Sea Shepherd have a deliberate policy of sinking or sabotaging vessels engaged in illegal whaling.
This confrontational approach has been controversial. Greenpeace refuse to work with them and the FBI dub them
“eco-terrorists”. Nevertheless, their uncompromising position has found them many supporters, including several high-profile figures. In 2007 the MV Robert Hunter (named after Canadian Robert Hunter, co-founder of the Greenpeace Foundation) was renamed Steve Irwin after the TV naturalist. Irwin had considered joining the vessel on an upcoming voyage to Antarctica shortly before his untimely death, and the decision to rename the vessel was endorsed by his widow Terri.

Although it is most famous for its work defending whales, Sea Shepherd’s remit is much broader, incorporating campaigns against poaching, longline fishing, shark finning, seal clubbing, unlawful habitat destruction and climate change. Their confrontation with shark poachers in Guatemala is a key element of the film Sharkwater, recently released in cinemas in the UK and shown at Nottingham’s Showcase Cinema.

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4 Responses to “Interview with Sea Shepherd activist (full)”

  1. Skipper Paul Says:

    Come on you don’t really believe that stuff I say on my website do you. The first officer on the Steve Irwin, Peter Brown, has allready let the cat out of the bag about the “Hostage taking” incident. In the April 9th edition of the Cape Cod Times he told everyone that it was all a stunt or street theater as he called it. His exact words were;

    “Though the incident began when someone from a Japanese whaling vessel allegedly shot Paul Watson, the Sea Shepherd’s controversial founder, it only became a “hostage” situation, Brown admits, when he turned the Steve Irwin around and left the scene so the Japanese would be forced to hold the two crewmen longer.

    “It’s all giant street theater,” Brown said.”

    You can read the article here if you want to.

    http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080409/NEWS/804090347

    As for the shooting incident, do you really think I walk around my own ship with a bullet proof vest on. Sure some of the crew were upset about safety concerns but it hasn’t gotten so bad that there are gun fights. Take another look at the video were I claimed to be shot. The Japanese vessel was very close to the Steve Irwin so very little of the bullets initial speed and force would have been lost by the time it hit me. If you look at the bullet we claimed was pulled out of my vest you can see that it was a very large bullet, at least a 38 caliber. From the distance the Japanese shooter would have been when he shot me even if the vest did stop the bullet there would have been enough force behind it to knock me to the ground and leave me with serious injuries. The vest can stop the bullet from entering the body but the force behind the bullet when it hits the vest has to go somewhere. If the Japanese were intent on shooting me they would have used a rifle from that distance because it is much more accurate and a soft kevlar would not stop a bullet from a snipers rifle at that distance.

    Skipper Paul

  2. Jack Says:

    Hi ‘Skipper Paul’,

    Thanks for contributing your comment to the site. I’m pleased you’ve taken the time to put your point across. It’s pretty clear that you are not Paul Watson himself, I can only assume you’re using his name to discredit him. Anyway, I’m happy to put you straight on the points you make:

    1. “Come on you don’t really believe that stuff I say on my website do you.” – Hmm why not? Should we believe what the mainstream media writes about it instead? At least the Sea Shepherd is there and the journalists onboard the Sea Shepherd ship are there. Where were you?

    2. “The first officer on the Steve Irwin, Peter Brown, has allready let the cat out of the bag about the “Hostage taking” incident. In the April 9th edition of the Cape Cod Times he told everyone that it was all a stunt or street theater as he called it.” – Of course it is a stunt. It’s about kicking up a stink, getting noticed, getting people talking about the whale hunting issue, getting the issue back into the international political arena. That’s what the work of Sea Shepherd is all about.

    3. “As for the shooting incident, do you really think I walk around my own ship with a bullet proof vest on. Sure some of the crew were upset about safety concerns but it hasn’t gotten so bad that there are gun fights.” – Yes, apparently he does wear a kevlar vest. This does makes sense as it wasn’t the first time he gets fired upon:

    * In July of 1986, the Sea Shepherd ship ‘Sea Shepherd II’ was attacked with rifle fire and tear gas while documenting and obstructing the pilot whale sport hunt at the Danish Faeroe Islands.

    * In July of 1994, the Sea Shepherd ship ‘Whales Forever’ was rammed by the Norwegian army destroyer Andenes, fired upon, and had two depth charges deployed under the hull.

    4. “Take another look at the video were I claimed to be shot. The Japanese vessel was very close to the Steve Irwin so very little of the bullets initial speed and force would have been lost by the time it hit me. If you look at the bullet we claimed was pulled out of my vest you can see that it was a very large bullet, at least a 38 caliber. From the distance the Japanese shooter would have been when he shot me even if the vest did stop the bullet there would have been enough force behind it to knock me to the ground and leave me with serious injuries. The vest can stop the bullet from entering the body but the force behind the bullet when it hits the vest has to go somewhere. If the Japanese were intent on shooting me they would have used a rifle from that distance because it is much more accurate and a soft kevlar would not stop a bullet from a snipers rifle at that distance.”

    Right. So you’re telling me that from a 43 seconds, bad resolution video downloaded from the web, you Mr. Forensic, can work out exactly what happened, what the distances of the ships were, where people were stood? Whatever next. I strongly advise you get off your computer, stop lazing around being a keyboard warrior and get your arse in gear to actually do something to avert the world’s problems.

  3. John L Gambell Says:

    No Matter what any body beleives, the fact remains that the Whales are being slaughtered by the Empire of Japan, this needs to be stopped.
    I am fully behind the Steve Irwin and it’s crew. I have just brought the video ‘ The edge of the World” and am wondering if T-Shirts are available with the Logo and the wording “Sea sheperd” ?
    We await any reply …..Good Luck and Very well done. You are HEROS!!

    Best Wishes John & Janet Gambell of Nelson N.Z.

  4. GhostLink Says:

    GhostLink…

    […]Interview with Sea Shepherd activist (full) «[…]…

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