by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Causes.
Photo: Ady Gil shot: Institute of Cetacean Research


In their latest update, the Sea Shepherd finally revealed the type of laser they’re using as a defensive measure against the lone Japanese whaling ship tailing them.

It’s called a “Photonic Disruptor” and it’s definitely a lot more advanced than the gadget I previously suspected them carrying. Here are some of the details:

According to one reviewer, the impact of the laser is momentarily blindness, with the after effects similar to “a flash bulb going off and leaving a bright spot in your version for a minute of so after your picture is taken.”

So, used at a distance, this is obviously meant to be an annoyance. However, I can see in close quarters situations a dangerous scenario of “momentary blindness” leading to a collision. Or the potential excuse to have one.

Its interesting to note that in one of the new photos the Sea Shepherd released, it almost appears as if the Japanese harpoon ship has a photonic disruptor as well; though it may just be the angle of the shot. Both the MV Steve Irwin and Ady Gil have the laser tech on board.

Click here to check out the latest update from the SS — which features the Ady Gil finally getting in on the action.

Antarctic Japan Whaling

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Rolf Larsen

    The “cannon” and “ball projectiles” launched from the AG is actually a tshirt cannon donated by Nickleback, the projectiles are Nickleback tshirts :P

  • Pingback: Difficult Dot Dot Printable — Confirmed: Sea Shepherd Have Photonic Disruptors – « John()

  • msk

    I think Australian government has classified that kind of laser as a prohibited weapon. If the SS have loaded it on the ships, that needs to be recorded. And now it means Australia did know the fact that the SS has such equipments. Did Australia allowed the SS to go with the “prohibited weapon,” saying they would respect the right to “peaceful” protest? What kind of hypocrisy is that?

    • Michael Raymer

      What is your source that it is in fact a prohibited weapon? I’m not saying that you are wrong, but I would like to see some attribution if you are going to make a statement like that. Please follow up with a link to support this please.

      • msk

        “Australian government voted to issue a nationwide ban on importing of lasers that emit a beam stronger than 1 mW, which was effective on July 1, 2008. Those whose professions require the use of a laser can apply for an exemption.”

        “In Victoria, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory, a laser pointer with an accessible emission limit greater than 1 mW is classified as a prohibited weapon and any sale of such items must be recorded.”

        As I’m not familiar with foreign lows,
        please correct the article of Wikipedia if wrong.

      • msk

        Not foreign “lows” but “laws”.

      • Poopsie

        So if SS doesn’t offload the laser, and the ship does not suddenly begin to travel over land, then they have not actually imported it into the country and are therefore not breaking any alleged laws, correct?

    • Nathan Mutch

      Who really cares? The Japanese whaling fleet has already broken a few major international laws. First, they gave false information to Australian authorities in Fremantle when stopping for fuel and provisions. They had claimed that they were not part of the whaling fleet, which is a total lie because the Shonan Maru #2 is specifically permitted to hunt whales this year. If the Australian government had known this, the Shonan Maru #2 would not have been allowed to stop in Fremantle. The Shonan Maru #2 has also fired the LRAD at the Sea Shepherd’s helicopter, which is not only dangerous but illegal. Then a few days ago, the Shonan Maru #2 illegally entered French waters and did not even ask the French for permission. When the French ask the Shonan Maru #2 what they were doing in French territory, the Shonan Maru #2 replied by saying that they do not recognize international laws in Antarctic waters. So obviously whatever Sea Shepherd can do to harm the Japanese whaling fleet, is now considered “fair game”. The Japanese fleet has been lying for decades, actually ever since the Institute of Cetacean Research was created. I hope this year the Japanese whaling fleet sinks to the bottom of the ocean and the entire crew goes with it.

      • ChuckSteak

        The Shonan Maru #2 hasn’t docked in Fremantle this year. It last docked in Fremantle 2 years ago. At that time is was part of the non-lethal research fleet. The Shonan Maru #2 didn’t give false information to Australian authorities then or now. You are WAY off the mark here. So far off that what you have said is a blatent lie.

        The Shonan Maru #2 did indeed aim the LRAD at the helicopter. However, if you look at the effective range of the LRAD then the Heli would have to be within less than 100 meters (I believe) of the Japanese ship for it to do “anything”. Past 100 meters the effect is next to nothing. Especially with the noise canceling headphones the pilot is wearing. What reason would the heli need to be within 100 meters of the Japanese ship? No reason. If the pilot doesn’t like the high pitched squeal…don’t fly so close to the Japanese ship?

        The Shonan Maru #2 did not reply to the French that they didn’t recognize International Laws. They replied one of the Australians at the Mawson’s Hut base that radioed the Japanese vessel to inquire what they were doing in Australian Antarctic Territorial waters, the Captain of the Shonan Maru #2 replied by saying, “Japan does not recognize the Australian Antarctic Territorial claim.”. Very different from what you “claimed”.

    • Meat Lover

      Australian GOvernment is a Tyranical Fascist Dictatorship with Commissar Kevin Rude at the helm, he is on a sinking ship and we don’t care about the laser validation, the SS is NOT an Australian Ship nor does Peter Garrett care about the whales or Japanese, so give over.

      • Robert Besch

        Chuck Steak, you are an imbecile! You do not EVER point a weapon, lethal or not, at a flighing craft. The Sea Shepherd’s helicopter does not have any armaments, it is a reconnassaince craft and if the LRAD did have any effect (and if you ACTUALLY checked a CREDIBLE source on LRAD weapon systems you would know that after 100 meters the weapon still produces a focused sound that will not impair the pilot, but it is “an annoyance, distraction, and deterrent from coming closer” it can still distract a pilot, and it’s not like he was going to land anyways. If you watched the clip also, you would know that it did have an affect on the pilot. So can it, you don’t know how to fly, I’m 16 and I do! and if a high pitched noise would cause me to crash, non-leathal or whatever, you’d better believe that it wouldn’t have happened if that thing wasn’t pointing at me. DISTRACTING me from flying a rotating craft high above the ground. If you get disstracted for more than a couple seconds then you can DIE. In Conclusion, don’t freaking do it!

  • Pingback: Instituto SEA SHEPHERD Brasil. » ADY GIL chega a Antártida e ATACA o SHONAN MARU No. 2()

  • Michael Raymer

    LOL, no problem. Take a look at the last sentence of my last post and you’ll see a failure to proofread there also. And thank you for posting the link. With so many baseless accusations that get thrown around in forums like these, I appreciate that you weren’t just making this up. I guess we will see how this plays out. I’m on the Sea Shepherds side, but I don’t condone breaking the law. I did, previously, advocate more aggression on the Shepherds part previously, however. What with Japan’s Foreign Minister admitting that this is a poaching operation and with the whaling fleets use of LRAD, concussion grenades and (allegedly) firearms, I still don’t have a problem with the use of enhanced tactics on the part of Sea Shepherd.

    • msk

      Now it’s your turn to show when Japan’s Foreign Minister admitted that this was a poaching. I thought he just mentioned that eating whale meat is part of Japanese culture, but did he say that was “poaching”?

      The biggest misunderstanding that anti-whaling people have is believing that Japanese whaling is not for research but just to eat. In fact, it is both for research and to eat. Because the research is to start sustainable commercial whaling, and the commercial whaling is of course to eat whale meat. I can’t find anything wrong.

      By the way, did Paul Watson report the “miracle shot” he got last year to the police? Japan urged him to present the bullet to the AFP. Why did he refuse the proposal? I’m sure the whalers didn’t have to use any weapons if only the SS had not attacked them directly with the biggest arms; the ship Steve Irwin. I don’t want to argue like a child about who-did-it-first, however, the whalers need to defend themselves from the dangerous ramming the SS does repeatedly.

      • Michael Raymer

        No, no, no, NO! The Japanese have said repeatedly that they are whaling to conduct scientific research. THAT’S IT! I am not going to be dragged into someone elses interpretation of how they feel about it. Scientific research, after which the law mandates that there is no waste. That is THEIR story. Not yours, not Hideyoshi’s, not anyone elses. This line has been repeated ad infinitum. Unlike many people on both sides of this issue, I have logged onto the ICR’s website and studied it, the IWC’s website and studied it. I have gone back to both on many occasions to make clarifications. The whalers claim that the harvesting of meat is not their aim, JUST scientific research, but the law requires them to butcher the whales. How much clearer does this have to be made?
        The Foreign Minister did not mention research in any way. He made it clear that the main goal for the whaling operation is to supply whale meat to the Japanese market. This classifies the whaling operation as poaching, due to the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling in the Southern Whale Sanctuary.

        And, enough with the “eating whale is a part of their culture” nonsense. No it is not. If you study Japanese maritime history (and I have) you will see that they have no tradition of whaling, at all. What would happen is that if a Japanese fishing boat had a chance at taking a whale during the course of their other activities, they would say. “sure, why not.” This does not in any way count as a heritage. It was the Norwegians that taught them whaling during the beginning of the 20th century. Hell, America and Europe are the ones that have the centuries-old tradition of killing whales. Does the book “Moby Dick” ring any bells? Guess what? We gave it up.

        And why are you and others so keen about this bogus, never-really-happened tradition anyway? The vast, vast, vast majority of Japanese don’t want to eat whale anyway. And yet the sad and pathetic few cling to it, just like the Canadians cling to clubbing baby seals. Hey, you want centuries old traditions? OK, let’s go back to slavery. Let’s take away a womens right to vote. Let’s go back to, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” Those are all centuries-old traditions too. Part of evolution is recognizing that some some of your “traditions” are and always were barbaric, and shouldn’t be traditions anymore.

      • msk

        So, could you tell me what do you think the scientific research is for, Michael? What is the purpose of it? You must know it, as you have studied that hard. You know the 4 objectives for JARPA II, which are clearly stated on the IWC’s website. Don’t you say the research is to mix a whale and a cow or something like that. That’s laughable propaganda, which is distorted by ant-whaling media. There might be such an avantgarde report, but it’s not the main goal.

        The scientific research has been done to conduct commercial whaling in the future. That’s what I said. You know the IWC has established the procedure for sustainable commercial whaling, which is call RMP. But the RMP has not been used to reopen commercial whaling. Why? Because they said the problem was HOW they should observe the whaling in practice. You know what’s happening? They were not talking about whether they would keep whaling or not, but just HOW they should do whaling. Unfortunately, the negotiation broke off in 2006, however, asking like “to whale, or not to whale” is nonsense anyway.

        I understand you don’t really know much about Japanese food culture. Japan is a small country but has various custom and tradition. Some eat horse meat, some eat insects, and some eat whale meat. If you think whaling is barbaric, why don’t you give names and citizenship to all the whales? That is what a most “civilized” country should do right now, don’t you think so? Now that a black and a white can get married with no problem, why don’t you give whales the right to marry human beings?

  • Mr.H

    Michael, do you drive?

    • Michael Raymer

      “Michael, do you drive?”

      Ummm…yes I do.

      • Mr.H

        Have you ever on purpose or by accident exceeded the speed limit?

  • Contractor

    I’ll be offering My Teams Services to any Company’s Crew to Deal with these Tango’s.

    Having used a Disorientation/Distraction Laser numerous times, there the least of the Crews problems.

    Enough is Enough…This is Terrorism disguised as Activism.

  • Hideyoshi Toyotomi

    The threat from eco-terror is getting more serious by the day.

    These punks clearly want to mess the the bull – it’s high time that they got the horns.

    Send the Maritime Self Defence Force! Paul Watson will make a hearty meal for the fishes.

    • Michael Raymer

      Y’know Hideyoshi, you and me haven’t seen eye-to-eye on very much around here. But I must say, after reading this post, eating some cookie dough and scratching myself in various inappropriate-for-work bodily areas, I have to admit …. I agree with you, this one time, 100%!!! Here goes:

      Dear Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force,
      First of all, cool name. I mean, instead of calling yourselves a Navy, which would imply that you could last more than 30 minutes against anyone elses Navy, you went with the truth. Kudos!
      Anyhoo, if you’re not too tired from running from Godzilla, could you possibly head on down to Antarctica to deal with those impudent rascals, the Sea Shepherds? They have become quite the nuisance what with their rotten butter, cellulose powder and water hoses. Now, it seems, they have gone so far as to turbo charge a laser pointer and things have gotten simply out of hand. Hell, we tried concussion grenades, LRAD’s, throwing metal objects and golf balls, but they just won’t take the hint and let us keep slaughtering whales. This simply will not do.
      We hate to call on you like this, but since these eco-terrorists are not armed in any way, we feel that you have a better than 50% chance of not getting your asses kicked like every other time you’ve tried taking on anyone who actually could put up a fight. And jacking up a boat full of unarmed vegetarians is just the thing to boost your image, y’know, after sneak attacking and destroying the American Navy and still getting annihilated by them in four short years. Hope to hear from you soon.

      Love and Kisses,
      Michael Raymer

      P.S. Yamamoto was a sissy.

  • Andy

    The sooner the Sea Shithouse is sent to the bottom with all her ‘crew’ the better.
    One day soon, they will f*ck with the wrong boat & get properly rammed & sunk.

  • vine

    Would you let me point a 100 mW laser at your eye for a few seconds? Even one an unfocused one?

    “With the use of laser pointers that are more powerful than five milliwatts, there would likely be damage to the actual vision,” he says. “Functional damage could occur within seconds.”

    And the thing with the PD is that you can do a focused tight beam that can cause eye damage.

    You’re supposed to use the wide setting but there’s no certainty that it’s set correctly.

    If you think this is okay to shine at whalers, what if they decided to point one at Chris?

    It’s really stupid to trust the manufacturer’s claim that there’s no permanent eye damage. The intent is a weapon less lethal than shooting someone. Not for it to be perfectly safe. For that it works. Tasers have killed people and they’re mostly safe.

  • kujiraoishi

    To the author of this entry,

    Please at least give the photo credit to ICR for the one you use on this article. You are stealing their material.

    • Michael d'Estries

      Kujiraoishi —

      The photo credit is retained inside the photo, but I agree it should be more blatantly obvious than that. Credit added.

  • sylo

    Ah.. Big boys big toys ..
    by no means is it ok what is happening with the whaling war .. thou now it is a war .. and i do believe or hope it will be fruitful.There is a thing i’ve been reading up on about the LRAD (sound thingie) which is devastating to the ears of fish and creatures on land, it can deafen them and cause disorientation.. i know it’s all about the whales etc .. is it ??
    I’ve also been reading a blog from Pete Bethune on the SS crew blog stating that he is understanding the place (antarctica) should just be left alone as it is one place untouched by invasion due to it’s remoteness and harsch environment and beauty. namaste

  • mark

    That’s a step above the ecoterrorists’ usual weapon, the Shrill-O-Tron, which consists of various entertainers, (Vedder, Damon, Madonna, etc.) whom we have NO interest in getting our polical views courtesy of and should just SHUT THE HELL UP and do what they do best. Apparently the Hollywood types have made their money already and don’t care that the rest of us are about to have our a**es taxed out from under us. So how will we be able to afford to see their movies and buy their music then? They’d better sit on the money they’ve ALREADY made.

  • C. Bruce Richardson Jr.

    If the SS people are escalating the “whale wars” then certainly the other side will do the same and should. I don’t understand how the SS people can think that they have the right to attack another ship on the high seas with impunity. If one of their people should manage to board one of the ships that they are attacking, that person should be locked up and delivered to the authorities when the ship reaches port again. If they try to foul the propellers of the ship that they are attacking, the defending ship should respond with small boats to do the same to the SS. If the SS people throw Butyric acid, then the defending people should do the same. I don’t like what the whalers are doing but what the SS folks are doing is worse.

  • Kristy

    What stupid Japan is doing is ILLEGAL. They are only POACHING poor whales for sick human consumption profits. That’s all that is. There is absolutely no so-called “research” in what they are doing. Their so-called “research” is nothing more than a SHAM! The whale POACHERS are 10 times more aggressive than Sea Shepherd. Highly intelligent animals should not be for sick human consumption. And I’m totally on Sea Shepherd’s side. Great job for Paul making brand-new tactics! And they are NOT so-called “terrorists”. They are sound animal activists. The ILLEGAL whale POACHERS will never escape the world record-holding Ady Gil! lol

  • Pingback: Sea Shepherd Reveal Secret Third Ship, The Icebreaker BOB BARKER! « :: the latest in green gossip()

  • Hideyoshi Toyotomi

    I concede defeat.

    I am paid by Glenn Inwood and the Omeka Public Relations company.

    In other words, I defend whaling at all costs (much like a defence lawyer for a guilty murderer).

    I trawl around the net day after day posting counters to everythinig I read.

    My real name is Tim Robert Samson. I’m not even Japanese, but I found that Hideyoshi Toyotomi was a brave Japanese warrior that died in Osaka 1598.

    I secretly support SSCS, but hey – cash in the pocket can change anything.

  • Peter Jak

    First I am not on either side.
    But how many of us eat fish. Where do we segregate what fist we should eat or animal and who should make that decision. But I believe no animal or creature or fish should be chased till it is exhausted and then harpooned or shot. And I know that this is what animals do all the time especially big cats. But we are the more advance species that should not do that. I use to hunt and my rule was one shot one kill. And only kill what you need and i do the same in fishing this is called fair game. Why don’t the SS go after commercial fishing operations that use extremely long nets and take out tons of schools of fish? The bottom line is many people like myself survive on Meat, Fish, Fruit and vegetables a balance in moderations is good. Some cultures are not so lucky due to climate and location. I am not here to tell the Japanese what they shall eat but what if India got upset at USA for eating one of their Gods the Cow. The only reason I see that someone should stop eating hunting and animal should be because it is in low numbers and may become extinct. I would like to hear why whales should not be hunted more from a scientific reason. And when it comes to law who,s law should we listen to. Every country has its own due to people having different views. I am in Australia but do not tell people in the USA what to do or how to do it. So if we respect our country laws would we like other country what to do. So why do we want to tell Japan what to do. I would like to see whaling stoped Commercially only due to how they go about it.