by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: .

Back in 1994, before the Sea Shepherd had their own television show or were as well-known as they are today, the anti-whaling group bought a Norwegian military submarine for $250,000.

Even then, Paul Watson and company were flirting with some high-tech options to fend off whalers.

The sub, built in 1988, was designed to infiltrate harbors and other small bodies of water. It ran on diesel, could dive to 300ft, and stay underwater for three days. According to a news report, Norway sold the vessel was sold to a private company which sold it to a Swedish Salvage company and eventually the Sea Shepherd. Paul Watson personally delivered the 27-foot sub via flatbed truck on a four-day trek from Southern California to Seattle. It was christened the “Mirage”.

The intent was to disguise the sub as a full-grown orca whale in an attempt to scare gray whales away from tribes hunting them in Neah Bay, Washington. San Francisco artist George Sumner was commissioned for the artwork. Captain Watson also considered adding hydrophonic speakers that could blast orca sounds as far as two miles away. Sounds of gray whales being attacked by orcas were also considered.

It was also about this time that the Canadian Navy caught wind of the sub purchase and made it known publicly that “no one at Sea Shepherd knew anything about operating a submarine and it was ridiculous for Sea Shepherd to acquire one.” This led to Paul Watson issuing the famous retort of, “Since World War II, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has boarded more ships, rammed more ships, engaged in more high seas confrontations and sunk more ships than the Canadian Navy. They are hardly in a position to presume to judge what we are competent or capable of doing.”

Oddly, the Sea Shepherd never did use the Mirage. It would journey with them on their flagship Whales Forever tightly secured in an on-deck cradle, but never saw action. Whether the risk of taking it out was just too great — or the operation too complex, is not known. It did bring some good press for the organization — which as we know they are masters of — but eventually was sold off in 1999.

To see a picture of the Sea Shepherd sub (and Paul Watson’s pretty hair), click here.

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 →
  • Charlie

    I Wish They Still Had It.

  • Kimitake Hiraoka

    Thank goodness they no longer have the submarine! I can just imagine the Sea Shepherd vandals trashing it in the Antarctic and pouring its diesel fuel into the pristine waters like they did with the trimaran.

    Sea Shepherd and Exxon – think they’re free to dump their oil wherever they want. Like peas in a pod.

    • The Infidel

      Paul Watson also shot JFK.

      No, really.

    • sidewinder

      You surely can’t be serious Kimitake?

      SSCS don’t go around trashing the environment (unlike those disrespectful Japanese whalers) who dump not only fuel and garbage, but tons of offal and blood from their BOGUS research. Pretty weak argument you have their. And the comparison to Exxon Valdez? Perhaps that Captain of the SM2 should not have deliberately rammed and tried to kill the crew the Ady Gil would not be sitting on the ocean floor. That man should be arrested and charged with attempted murder.

      Japan has a great record of over fishing, environmental destruction, ignoring quotas etc etc look at theit defiance in the face of blue Fin Tuna. We know its running out and they just dont give a flying F.

      Perhaps it is Karma. Look at their socital problems, economic problems, deflation, suicides etc… It is a house of cards.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1306324129 Leonard Greene

      Spoken like a member of the ICR!

      • straightedge

        Come on Glenn, give it a rest already. Every propaganda laced word you type is boring us to zzzzzzzzzz …sorry, sleep. Maybe you shouzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzz

      • straightedge

        Sorry Leonard, that was meant for Kimitake.. I mean Glenn.

        It seems drowsy surfing is just as hazardous as drowsy driving. My bad zzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzz

  • Abe

    I wish that fat bastard would have run it into the ice and killed himself with it. Then I might be able to respect the Sea Shepherds.

    • whiplash

      By being some sort of martyr? I’m glad there are not too many people around liek you Abe – moron.

      • Abe

        There are a lot more people like me than you think, whiplash. Watson is a lying piece of shit and needs to be locked up. He will do far more harm for his causes in the long run. They are going to legalize whaling in the north pacific and it is directly because of his actions.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-Lamb/100000872581980 Josh Lamb

        @abe actually its because green peace, the US goverment, the NZ goverment, and a few other conservation groups want to allow it. SSCS is the only one against it.

  • cho cho ma

    THEY DRAINED THE FUEL BEFORE THE BOAT SUNK EINSTEIN!

    -DOING WHATS RIGHT IS NOT WHATS ALWAYS POPULAR

    U ROCK SEA SHEPHERD!!!!

  • TTT

    He still looks as he has been eating too many burgers. So cows is OK then?

    • whiplash

      Getting personal about someones weight shows you have nothing and are stooping pretty low TTT. Grow a brain.

      • Timmy john (laughing hard)

        It’s funny, truly how fat & I mean fat paul has continued to be for all these past 3 yrs. He has his own personel meat locker on the ship!!YES Jackass it does mean stopping low but when your looking a what these ” vegatairains” are doing on the seas. Calling Paul a fat WHALE is only the tip of the ice berg that is comming their way.

    • georgina0912

      I think TTT was trying to be funny…but it came out like the complete opposite. Get informed TTT, Captail Paul Watson is a vegetarian.

      • Hellfire Jack

        Paul Watson is NOT a vegan. He eats meat and fish and all manner of animal products. He goes vegan while on missions so as not to anger the super militant vegans that might harm others or cause problems because of other people’s diets.

      • Abe

        Watson is not a vegetarian. Read all about the hypocrite.

        http://www.activistcash.com/organization_overview.cfm/oid/347

  • http://blog.babyganics.com Evan

    I kinda liked the part where they scare the gray whales away, but throwing smoke bombs? that’s pretty nasty. but I guess if they’re fighting for something they truly love and since the whalers are doing business illegally, they considered their calling to be righteous.

  • Robert Beller

    The reason they didn’t use it is because the vessel was badly in need of refit as is most equipment bought from salvage companies. Watson was just too stupid to know how much it would cost to refit it. All he could use his quarter million dollar debacle for was an idle threat. Why do you think the SSCS leaves it out of their history?

    BTW the Makah weren’t doing anything illegal in hunting the whales allocated to them by the US government and the IWC. Why didn’t Watson use his UN Charter BS on the Makah and attack them with rancid butter and ramming? I bet it had to do with the fact his ass would have been thrown in jail and his tax exemption yanked.

    • The Infidel

      “Why do you think the SSCS leaves it out of their history?”

      Maybe because it was never really more than a footnote in it, having never seen action…?

      Caveat emptor — sooner or later we all learn it the hard way.

      “BTW the Makah weren’t doing anything illegal in hunting the whales allocated to them by the US government and the IWC. Why didn’t Watson use his UN Charter BS on the Makah and attack them with rancid butter and ramming?”

      You already answered your own question in the previous sentence… would you have preferred that he had rammed or stinkbombed them?

  • Crazy Ivan

    The Truth About Butyric Acid

    We are submitting this short editorial to clear up some misconceptions regarding exactly what Butyric Acid is. Make no mistake about it, it IS an acid and it DOES harm human beings. Huge concerns about what happens if it’s dispersed into the sea near living sea creatures have been raised also. It stands to reason that pouring acid into the sea can’t be good. (1.)

    For years now Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherds have fed the media with mis-information, the worst case of this being the association between butyric acid and butter. Yes, rancid butter does contain traces of butyric acid… the key here being trace amounts. In larger concentrations the acid becomes harmful and if splashed into an eye can blind a human… or animal. (2.) Although we can’t prove what strength acid the Sea Shepherds are throwing at the Japanese whalers and into the sea the Sea Shepherds themselves have indicated they purchase ‘Industrial Grade’ butyric acid. (3.)

    This is just one example of how the Sea Shepherds, and Paul Watson in particular, use the media to twist the facts to their own satisfaction.

    http://www.EndEcoTerrorism.com
    A free, public, global forum dedicated to ending Eco-Terrorism on our good earth.

    References:
    - 1: CDC.GOV’s page on Butyric Acid: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ipcsneng/neng1334.html (Note the ‘Environmental Data’ that states “The substance is harmful to aquatic organisms.”)
    - 2: MSDS sheets from two countries: http://www.sciencelab.com/xMSDS-Butyric_acid-9923216 -and- http://msds.chem.ox.ac.uk/BU/butyric_acid.html
    - 3: Forums at http://www.EndEcoTerrorism.com where discussions about and images of actual butyric incidents involving the Sea Shepherds can be found. (Registration required.) http://www.endecoterrorism.com/nwfrm/index.php/topic,250.0.html -and- http://www.endecoterrorism.com/nwfrm/index.php/topic,231.0.html

    • The Infidel

      “Make no mistake about it, it IS an acid and it DOES harm human beings.”

      It is, however, not a caustic liquid like f.e. sulphuric acid. This scaremongering is tedious and unscientific…

      “Although we can’t prove what strength acid the Sea Shepherds are throwing at the Japanese whalers and into the sea the Sea Shepherds themselves have indicated they purchase ‘Industrial Grade’ butyric acid.”

      Even “industrial grade” butyric acid can be diluted at will. It doesn’t take pure butyric acid to make a big stink, and considering the price of the stuff it makes sense to purchase as little as possible and dilute it as far as you can. They also mix it with methyl cellulose to make it harder to clean off.

      Having brewn some home-made butyric acid to use in pranks in the past I’m living proof the stuff isn’t dangerous, despite the “acid” in its name. Yes, it’s extremely unpleasant when it ends up on the wrong parts of the body, but so are many other liquids that the average person handles on a daily basis.

      “Huge concerns about what happens if it’s dispersed into the sea near living sea creatures have been raised also. It stands to reason that pouring acid into the sea can’t be good.”

      Again, just because it’s technically an acid doesn’t mean it dissolves anything.
      Once it lands in the water it will immediately be diluted so far it can’t pose any threat whatsoever to marine animals. In fact, some fish love the stuff — ask any carp fisher what works well on lures.

      Putting a fish in a vat of pure butyric acid would of course kill it, yes. But mayonaise would probably kill it even sooner. OMG! :D

      Anyway, good luck with the endecoterrorism site. Now that you can no longer spam the Animal Planet forums, maybe you’ll have time to put some serious effort in it.

      For all the other folks: here’s the other side of the story (yes, straight from the mouth of The Beast itself ;) ):
      http://www.seashepherd.com.au/forum/showthread.php?t=4246

      • Crazy Ivan

        AH, more SS-eco spin
        Well, how do you knwo the SS are not using industrial strength Butyric acid? The CEO of SSCS has said that they buy it from a chemical distributor. He however refused to say if they diluted it.
        You keep focusing on the “acid” part. That is not the concern. The concern is that it is a toxic substance that an kill people.
        Please read the links. Read the warnings and everything.
        Calling it “rotten butter” is just silly as well. We know it is not butter. So why does a vegan organization use a non-vegan product?
        Silly little man

      • Abe

        What about getting hit in the head by a glass bottle? That is hazardous to anybody’s health.

      • Mick

        The infidel,

        “Again, just because it’s technically an acid doesn’t mean it dissolves anything.
        Once it lands in the water it will immediately be diluted so far it can’t pose any threat whatsoever to marine animals.”

        Interesting point. However isn’t ocean pollution one of the things SS is against? And isn’t dumping chemicals in the ocean exactly how the oceans have become polluted? That sounds just like the corporate mentality of ‘Just throw the chemicals in the ocean. The ocean will dilute it and it will disappear’.

      • The Infidel

        “He however refused to say if they diluted it.”

        True, but as I already said: it makes perfect sense to do so. You’ll have to ask a crewmember if you want to be sure though; I admit I lack both the clearance and the inclination to stick my nose in those bottles to check for myself.

        “You keep focusing on the “acid” part. That is not the concern.”

        I must have misinterpreted the two paragraphs above were you kept going on about it being an acid then. My apologies.

        “The concern is that it is a toxic substance that an kill people.”

        There are no “toxic substances”, only toxic dosages of substances. And even those vary depending on the subject.

        Enough butyric acid in your system will kill you, yes. So will drinking too much perfectly innocent water (don’t take my word for it, look up “water intoxication”). Don’t even get me started on alcohol…

        Give me one example where somebody died of butyric acid. Please. Just one.

        “What about getting hit in the head by a glass bottle? That is hazardous to anybody’s health.”

        Well, if that was what you were worried about in the first place, why didn’t you say so right away?

        I doubt they were any more hazardous in that regard than the nuts and bolts whalers have thrown at the activists in the past. Good thing both sides have helmets I guess. And if after all these years the SSCS people haven’t hit a single person, there are probably several good reasons for that. At this point I’m not too worried about it anymore.

        “However isn’t ocean pollution one of the things SS is against? And isn’t dumping chemicals in the ocean exactly how the oceans have become polluted?”

        Your sudden concern for the environment is appreciated, though I still doubt your sincerity. Just because you keep calling it pollution doesn’t mean it is.

        Butyric acid is a naturally-occuring substance (though it can of course be industrially produced in far greater quantities and concentrations than is natural). It will take a *lot* more than a couple bottles’ worth to impact the environment in any significant way, let alone cause damage.

        The glass bottles are slightly less natural and don’t degrade fast, but they too pose only a minimal environmental hazard. It’s definitely not an ideal solution, I admit. But we don’t live in an ideal world and must sometimes go with the lesser evil in order to get anywhere.

      • Abe

        The Sea Shepherds haven’t hit a person yet because they lack the strength from their vegan diet. They also throw like 6 year old girls. With their new T-shirt launcher they might get lucky though. The Steve Irwin will get blown out of the water if they kill a Japanese sailor.

      • Mick

        The infidel,

        Thank you for your reply.

        You stated: “Just because you keep calling it pollution doesn’t mean it is.”

        I find it rather strange that someone who appears to be concerned for the environment would make such a statement. That sounds more like a statement from the CEO of EXXON.
        Just because you say dumping butryic acid in the ocean is not pollution doesn’t mean it isn’t.

        You also said: “It will take a *lot* more than a couple bottles’ worth to impact the environment in any significant way, let alone cause damage.”

        I would agree with you on this point if a “couple bottles’ worth” were the ONLY chemicals being dumped in the ocean. It seems to me that your ann SS’s mentality of ‘The amount WE’RE dumping into the ocean won’t hurt anything’ is the reason the oceans are polluted now. Obviously the oceans are polluted because many different people dump relatively small amounts of many different chemicals into the ocean. In simple terms, by throwing even small amounts of chemicals into the ocean, SS is contributing to ocean pollution.

        And finally, you said “The glass bottles are slightly less natural and don’t degrade fast, but they too pose only a minimal environmental hazard.”

        What are you basing this statement on? Have you or SS done an environmental impact study? What evidence leads you to believe that glass bottles “pose only a minimal environmental hazard”?

  • Capt. Paul “Lardass” Watson

    Never used it, probably because Paul Watson couldn’t shoehorn his fat ass in the thing, I doubt he’s a vegetarian, he didn’t get that lard eating carrots :))

    • Crazy Ivan

      It is a know fact that Watson LOVES Big macs (or was it Whoppers?)
      Way back when he was attacking long line fishermen, he would pull the lines up, only instead of freeing the fish and other critters, he would take them and use them for dinner instead.

  • imforthewhales

    The Japanese whalers should be tried for crimes against humanity. Fancy poisoning your own people with mercury tainted whale meat.

    • ddpalmer

      Why do people keep lying about this?

      Antarctic Minke whales have some of the lowest mercury levels of any seafood.

      If the whalers should be tried for crimes against humanity because of mercury levels in Minke whales the Australia should be tried for the mercury in the tuna the poison their people with, along with virtually every country in the world.

  • Imforthewhales

    Are you pretending ignorance DD palmer or are you just a cash for commenter?

    Hisato Ryono, a assemblyman in Taiji, a historic whaling town some 450 km (280 miles) west of Tokyo, said two samples of short-finned pilot whale had mercury levels 10 to 16 times more than advised by the Health Ministry.

    The samples, bought from two local supermarkets, also had 10-12 times more methyl mercury than advised levels, he said.

    Ryono and a fellow assemblyman conducted tests after local authorities ignored their calls to have the whalemeat inspected before it was served in school lunches in the town’s kindergartens and elementary and junior high schools.

    “We were shocked that it continued to be served in school lunches,” Ryono told Reuters by phone

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUST6359120070801

    • Hellfire Jack

      Antarctic Minke whales are not pilot whales. Heck pilot whales aren’t really whales.. pilot whales are better known as calderon dolphins.

      So let’s reiterate it. DDPalmer said “Antarctic Minke whales have some of the lowest mercury levels of any seafood.” He’s not ignorant. You are for ignoring that he’s not talking about all whales and only antarctic minke whales.

      • http://vegan--japan.blogspot.com/ herwin

        and you are ignorant because iamforthewhales simply said that whalers are poisoning their own people with mercury tainted meat, which is true. imforthewhales didnt say he means the antarctic whalers, its obvious he talks about the japanese coastal whalers.
        you should read the article and be more concerned about the health of people then nitpicking , my dear Hellfire Jack aka Computer Virus DDP

      • Hellfire Jack

        No, sorry but I’m not ignoraing anything.

        I know what iamforwhales said and I know what ddpalmer said.

        iamforwhales made a claim about whalers poisoning people and ddpalmer makes a statement specifically about antarctic minke whales and iamforwhales responds about pilot whales. That shows she’s ignoring what ddpalmer is saying in favor of continuing her bogus straw man argument.

        iamforwhales said nothing about coastal whaling in their original remark. Your claim is wishful thinking.

        If you SS guys can’t handle facts I suggest your hide your head in the sand as per usual.

    • http://www.herwinsvegancafe.com herwin

      i don’t say you are ignoring, i simply say that you are ignorant. there is a diference between the two, you know…(or probaly not..)

  • Imforthewhales

    Even your Lords and Masters the japanese agree DD palmer…are you accusing the Japanese of being liars? You had better be careful, they might dock your pay…

    Taiji officials: Dolphin meat ‘toxic waste’
    Assembly pair break taboo, warn of acute mercury risk in school lunches

    By BOYD HARNELL

    Special to The Japan Times

    For what is believed to be the first time anywhere in Japan, elected officials have openly condemned the consumption of dolphin meat, especially in school lunches, on grounds that it is dangerously contaminated with mercury.

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fe20070801a1.html

    The Japanese do not care about human health. Your claims about Minke whales will fall on deaf ears.

    • ddpalmer

      You really need to learn to read. Show me where I ever said that dolphin meat didn’t have high levels of contaminants?

  • http://tyrannogenius.blogspot.com Neil B

    Simple carboxylic acids like butyric acid are caustic in high concentrations but decompose readily and are no harm to the ocean as a whole. No more than acetic, citric, etc. Might as well dump some vinegar or orange juice into the sea, no big deal in realistic concentrations or significant pH change. However, the increased CO2 in the air *is* running ocean pH to dangerous levels, hurting coral etc. Re whales: no excuse for killing such advanced, large-brained mammals them except in self-defense – a rare situation.

  • boo radley

    Which one of you is Hank?