Some new updates from Captain Paul Watson have been streaming in — and it appears that the Japanese are on the offensive against the Sea Shepherd.
Since leaving port, the Shonan Maru #2 has been tailing the MV Steve Irwin, along with an unknown airplane relaying their position. Late last week, there was a clash of water cannons when the Sea Shepherd turned the tables on their stalker — but now the Japanese have escalated the confrontations. From Paul Watson’s blog,
At 1730 Hours the Steve Irwin’s helicopter flew back to film the Shonan Maru #2. In Response the crew of the Shonan Maru #2 activated their Long Range Acoustical Decive (LRAD) in the direction of the Sea Shepherd helicopter. “This was an extremely irresponsible thing to do,” said Sea Shepherd helicopter pilot Chris Aultman (USA). “That device can cause nausea and disorientation and the use of it against an aircraft is both extremely dangerous and grossly irresponsible.”
Immediately after the helicopter landed back on the Steve Irwin, Watson said the Shonan Maru pulled up to the stern of the ship “with water cannons blazing in an attempt to destroy our helicopter on the landing pad.” Both boats sped up to keep pace through a dangerous ice field with the Japanese ship taking a “big hit” — though SS crew could not confirm any damage.
The Shonan Maru is now pursuing the Steve Irwin deep in French territorial waters — something the Sea Shepherd have permission to do, but not the Japanese. Both attacks on the helicopter have been reported to French authorities — though whether any action on their part is taken is unknown.
All this — and the Sea Shepherd haven’t even encountered the whaling fleet yet.