by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: , .

pete bethuneJapan officially went ahead yesterday and charged Ady Gil skipper Pete Bethune for trespassing.

Bethune had been held aboard the whaling vessel Shonan Maru 2 since February 15th, when he boarded using a jetski under the cover of darkness. He was attempting a “citizen’s arrest” of the captain for attempted murder and to serve a claim for $US3 million for the destruction of his powerboat Ady Gil four weeks earlier.

According to reports, the Japanese Coast Guard are also considering additional charges. If convicted of trespass under the Mariner’s Act, he faces a maximum penalty of three years’ prison or a Y=100,000 ($1200) fine.

Captain Paul Watson told The Australian that Bethune’s arrest is only likely to strengthen public support for the Sea Shepherd. “If he is convicted, I’ve got at least a dozen volunteers who’ve been in contact with me in the last few days, say `bring me down there and I’ll jump on their damned boats and they can take me back to join him’.”

“I think what the Japanese have on their hands is a hot potato and they’re going to want to get rid of it, because this is going to make Pete Bethune a national hero in Australia and New Zealand and a hero for conservationists worldwide,” he added.

Watson also mentioned that Bethune is fully prepared to engage the Japanese court system and state his case that what is happening in the Southern Ocean is wrong. “I’m prepared to go all the way, I’m prepared to do whatever time it takes,” said Bethune.

“But I am not, as a New Zealand citizen, prepared to stand here and watch the Japanese rape and destroy the Southern Ocean and not do anything about it.”

via The Australian

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.

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  • orcalove

    Go PETE!

  • ddpalmer

    Go straight to jail. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.

    • billy jean is my lover

      If Japan prosecutes Pete Bethune, he will become the political prisoner of a tyrannical government that has even violated the basic human rights of its own citizens (remember the Tokyo Two?) in order to support the whaling industry. Not to mention the fact that the captain of the ship that Pete boarded, Shonan Maru 2, is the same man who rammed and destroyed his vessel, Ady Gil, nearly killing Bethune and 5 members of his crew. If anything, the captain and crew of the Shonan Maru 2 should be apprehended and charged by New Zealand authorities for attempted murder.

      • ddpalmer

        If New Zealand wants to do that then more power to them.

        But that has no bearing on Mr Bethune’s charges. It is pretty cut and dried that he boarded the Shonan Maru without permission.

      • Dorothy Kernaghan-Baez

        “It is pretty cut and dried that he boarded the Shonan Maru without permission.”


        Had it been me, I would have been seriously destructive. Captain Bethune was not.

        Oh, and let’s not forget the geniuses who didn’t even notice that Captain Bethune was on the ship. I wouldn’t trust the captain and crew of the Shonan Maru to secure and guard my pet rock collection.

        Maybe the Japanese fleet will self destruct under the heavy burden of their own feeble-mindedness.

      • ddpalmer

        It doesn’t matter why he was there. It is illegal to board a vessel at sea without permission. If that case goes to court he has already been found guilty just by the fact that he was on the ship.

        Have you ever been on a ship at sea? It is not like the crew wanders the whole ship to check for illegal boarders.

      • Mick

        Dorthy Kernaghan-Baez,


        ‘You’re under arrest’ written on the back of a DENNY’S resturant placemat, does not qualify as “legal papers”.

    • josh

      Hell yeah!! Hang the pirate scum high. NZ does not support terrorism for any reason.

  • richard fisher

    i love that in this story paul doesn’t give a shit about his crew… just the message and the donations… it seems amazing that people sign up knowing full well their only job is to feed this man’s giant fucking ego.

  • Abe

    Watson has a dozen more pawns. Notice he does not volunteer himself. Peter is prepared to go “all the way.” No shit, I would do everything I could to stay out of jail for three years. That is what they will have to do to him to stop morons from performing stupid publicity stunts. When it comes down to it, that’s all it was.

  • ddpalmer

    It is very likely he will see more than 3 years. The first charge, which he has no chance of being found not guilty of, is just so they can hold him while they collect evidence and decide what else to charge him with.

  • spiderwoman

    may GOD bless pete and shut the mouth of all the animal haters here!!!!!

    • Mick


      “may GOD bless pete and shut the mouth of all the animal haters here!!!!!”

      Petey Bafun is a animal??? I don’t particularly like him, but for you to call him a “animal” is uncalled for.

      • From MN, with hope…

        Humans are a type of animal, including those who think so highly of themselves that they place themselves above the creatures of the world. You’re an animal, I’m an animal, every human being of the world are animals.

    • marymartin

      Opposing the Sea Shepherds does not make one a ‘animal hater’.
      Quite the opposite, I love all animals equally.
      While whaling is problematic from a animal cruelty point of view, it is absolutely nothing compared to the suffering of factory farmed animals.

      Please watch “Death on a Factory Farm”. Obviously, this one did not win an Oscar — I guess pigs are not cool enough, plus it is not directed against Japan.

      HBO’s Death on a Factory Farm site:



      • Porter

        To compare the vast suffering of farm animals to the vast suffering of whales and then deduce that farm animals suffer more is simply misguided. Just because there are more farm animals dying than whales doesn’t give anyone the right to trivialize the pain each whale suffers when impaled by a whaler’s harpoon.

        Maybe you don’t like Paul Watson’s personal style, but looking at the actions of SSCS for the past three decades, I see his love for animals and the planet. He runs a vegan ship so he obviously cares about farm animals. I think you misrepresent Watson and the work of SSCS, as well as most SSCS supporters. If you must vent, why not direct your efforts at the whalers or even at HSUS for helping meat companies sell more product?

        The only arrogance I witness here is your shrieking judgments of people you don’t personally know but seem to have no problem criticizing. BTW, despite many obstacles, Captain Bethune rescued the severely injured fisherman Pedro Salazar Gonzalez from that same crash you mentioned.

        Humans are not the only possible victims of rape.
        I consider whaling one form of raping the earth.

        It’s easy to wield the pen but much more difficult to fight for wildlife on the front lines. We should be supportive of those who find the incredible inner strength to use direct action to defend animals.

  • marymartin

    Also, don’t forget this arrogant Pete Bethune is the same guy who caused the death of an innocent Guatemalan fisherman while racing around the world in order to set some pointless boating record.

    • orcalove

      I hope you aren’t a journalist Mary, the Guatemalan vessel did not have any lights or markers on at night like they were supposed to. Pete was acquitted.

      • marymartin

        Re. “Pete Bethune was acquitted.”
        Rich man causes death of poor Guatemalan fisherman — what else would you expect?

      • From MN, with hope…

        Pete couldnt see anything. It was nighttime and like or orcalove said, the boat had no lights. They couldnt see anything, so they accidentally hit the small boat. And Pete wasnt a rich man when the Earthrace was racing around the world. Prior to it, he was. He placed his home on several mortgages to pay for the Earthrace, so he went from riches to rags.

      • marymartin

        I am not claiming that arrogant Pete Bethune intentionally killed that poor fisherman. Nevertheless, it shows he is a reckless and irresponsible man without remorse. For if he had any feelings of remorse or guilt, he would have ended that pointless boating record attempt as soon as it resulted in the death of a fellow human being.
        But maybe Pete Bethune does not see poor, non-white, fishermen as fellow human beings?

  • Keith

    The usual blabbermouths on here, ‘wailing’ about eco-terrorists, yet failing to mention the Japanese are the ones who rammed the Ady Gil intentionally, which is attempted murder in my books, not sure about yours. This is going to get good, really good.

    “But I am not, as a New Zealand citizen, prepared to stand here and watch the Japanese rape and destroy the Southern Ocean and not do anything about it.”

    Very inspiring Pete.

    You have what Paul Watson may at times lack. The ability to inspire.

    • ddpalmer

      “This is going to get good, really good.”

      I am not quite sure what you think is going to get good. Mr Bethune obviously boarded the Shonan Maru #2 without permission and some NZ citezens arrest law has no applicability unless you are in NZ territory which they weren’t. So his reason for boarding is irrelavent to the trespassing case.

      • Blake

        The NZ law also applies to a NZ’ers property and any property registered to NZ, which the Ady Gil was. In Pete’s eyes (I’m not going to express opinion because I am no maritime or NZ lawyer) he was boarding with cause under the citizens arrest law as he understood it.

      • ddpalmer

        Pete may well have believed that but ignorance of the law won’t protect him.

    • marymartin

      Re. “watch the Japanese rape and destroy”
      One wonders, what is the real reason for arrogant Pete Bethune’s crusade — his obsession with a few, select animals, or his dislike (to put it mildly) for Japanese people.
      Would anybody dare to write “watch the Africans rape and destroy” — I think, rightfully, not.

      • Blake

        We’ve watched the Africans rape and destroy. And there has been a large public outcry about them raping and destroying their own people and continent. Try again.

        To play the race card is trivial and unintelligent, at best. SSCS has never discriminated against one race for their illegal whaling. They are against any nation that is pro-illegal whaling.

      • ddpalmer

        But the only nation they use direct action against is Japan. Don’t you see how that could look racist whether it is or not?

      • marymartin

        If SSCS and its supporters are not racists (or at least, use and allow racist thoughts when it benefits their crusade against Japan), then how come there are comments like the following on their discussion board (which is very strictly monitored — any poster questioning the party-line gets banned immediately):

        ‘NlyAdedWhlr’ (when I guess stands for “only a dead whaler” … is a good whaler) writes on 06-03-2010:
        “Down with Japan and all things Japanese!”.

        ‘RAPTOR’ writes on 09-03-2010:
        “this is today’s Japan 120 + million of mostly selfish people, in a place full of lies, unfairness, and cruelty”.

        ‘m4umal’ on 11-03-2010 suggests that the people of Taiji be used as food for cannibals.

        ‘luxor311′ writes on 11-03-2010:
        “F_ck off Japan”

        ‘Mycam’ writes on 12-03-2010:
        “The Japanese are a set of arrogant bastards.”

        … and so on.

        I have screen shots off all of these.

    • richard fisher

      all you need to do is watch the video to see that the ady gil put itself in the way of the japanese intentionally. a motionless ship does not make a rooster tail off it’s engines. watch the video from the japanese… then talk about the attempted “murder”.

      the japanese were forced to go hard to port… then… when they were fully committed to the turn… the ady gil moved forward into it’s path… your research abilities are qualitatively comparable to those of fox news.

      • sidwinder

        The ADY gil was rammed but the Japanese – what part of that DO YOU NOT GET???

        The crew of the SM2 should be put on trial for attempted murder.

        Gutless Aust / NZ should have naval vessels down there….

      • Blake

        Have you seen the videos? Forced to go hard port? There was nothing in there way on the starboard side, so how do you get forced to port?

        Rooster tail? Seriously, what video were you watching?

        Not trying to be a fan boy, even if I am one, but nothing you said has any validity. Please, try again.

    • marymartin

      Going back to Pete Bethune’s “watch the Japanese rape and destroy”.

      This is not only offensive because it is racist, it is also very offensive for using the word “rape”. Comparing fishing/hunting with the terrible crime of rape is very, very upsetting to all people who have been affected by rape, directly or indirectly.

      • Michael Raymer

        Mary, can I buy you a drink…or maybe a shot of oxygen. “Rape and destroy” is a euphemism that has been used countless times by countless people. Strip miners have been accused of raping the land, so have loggers. Before reclaimation became mandatory, I would have agreed. And it certainly applies to how the Japanese treat the oceans of the world.
        These continuous charges of racism are ridiculous and they eliminate your credibility. The Southern Ocean whaling fleet is an operation that is subsidized by the Japanese government. Ergo, they are going to be addressed as “the Japanese.” The fleet itself, the ICR and the end users of the whale meat are all Japanese. Ergo, they are going to be addressed as “the Japanese.” Is it really so hard to connect the dots on this one?
        As far as your other post, painting Sea Shepherd as racist because of the postings of anonymous, hysterical people who hide behind nicknames; welcome to the internet, the place where guilt-by-association went to die. This sort of nonsense is common on every response site on the web, you know that, and you should really find something more credible to pick a fight about.

      • marymartin

        Michael Raymer, why should we believe anything a SSCS supporter says?

        Wasn’t it dear leader Paul Watson himself who said:
        “If you don’t know an answer, a fact, a statistic, then … make it up on the spot.” (Paul Watson, in Earthforce: An Earth Warrior’s Guide to Strategy)

  • Mick

    Here is a short video that illustrates the whaling “debate” quite well. He has how the pro-SS types act, pegged. AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

    • whiplash

      Not interested in your pro-whaling nonsense Mick.

      • Mick

        That’s a very closeminded and ignorant statement. That attitude is also a great way to remain ignorant, as well.
        If you had bothered to watch the video you would discover that it is not “pro-whaling” as you assume it is, rather that it is an observation on how anti-whaling advocates, such as yourself, act.
        In fact, your reply is illustrated in the video, when he illustrates how anti-whalers only listen to anti-whaling rhetoric and ignore everything else.

      • From MN, with hope…

        Mick, that is claiming all of us anti-whalers act the same. I dont call them Japs, I no longer call them the Japanese, I call them the whalers, Paul Watson isnt my Lord, leader, Messiah, etc, and theres a reason that when I get involved that reply string goes on for a while. I keep at it, dont give up, arent blind to what people say, and so on. Then again I am a rare type behind the keyboard…

    • Rammingspeed
  • Rammingspeed

    Japan has no idea how to handle Pete Bethune — he’s a hot potato right now! Japan isn’t even sure of what charges to bring against Pete.

    • Crazy Ivan

      You should try to use your own name instead of someone elses
      You are not fooling anyone.

  • Mick

    More charges are possible for Pete Bafun. According to a news article on MSN Japan, Pete Bafun was carrying a concealed weapon. The article says a knife was discovered, hidden in his boot, when he was taken into custody in Japan.

    • Rammingspeed

      R u joking txexpat?

      • Mick

        First, who’s asking? Second, am I joking about what?

  • Robert Beller

    Watch this video


    I love how Watson gets all flustered when the reporter doesn’t buy his BS. It sure doesn’t look like NZ is going to rally to Bethune’s aid.

  • Michael Raymer

    Ok, by your invitation, I just watched the interview. Please show, by time stamp, where Watson gets flustered. The interviewer didn’t give Watson a free ride, and that’s fine with me. There was a certain amount of irritation on the part of both parties, but I don’t see where either of them get “all flustered.” And I personally think the whole “Prisoner of war” rap is a bit over done. But, rhetoric is a part of modern life. All sides of all issues can be accused of it, so why bother.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: you guys just make stuff up as you go. No matter what the evidence is, right before your eyes, let’s find a way to color it bad for the other guy. Fine, keep it coming.

  • Mick

    According to an article on MSN Japan, an extension was granted to hold Bafun in custody for another 10 days. From March 24 to April 2.

  • Mick

    Also, on MSN Japan is an article reporting that the JCG is looking into who helped Bafun in his illegal boarding of the SM2. It appears that they are looking into the possibility of charging whoever helped him commit the crime of illegal boarding.

    • Michael Raymer

      Well, we’ll just have to take your word for it since some of us don’t read Japanese. I did, however, run a search on American MSN, Google and and found nothing since the original arrest. I’m not disputing what you say. In fact, I couldn’t care less about Bethune. I’m just noticing that after questioning my “motives” on the Bluefin thread, you are over here, reading Japanese, and posting links that can’t be verified by anyone who doesn’t read…Japanese. Say Mick? What nationality are you?

      Don’t ever question MY motives ever again.

      • Mick

        Michael Raymer,

        “…reading Japanese, and posting links that can’t be verified by anyone who doesn’t read…Japanese. Say Mick? What nationality are you?”

        Your assumption about me is incorrect. I can’t read Japanese.
        By all means, don’t take my word for it. As ddpalmer pointed out, GOOGLE translator does a pretty good job.
        To answer your question, I’m an American.

    • Rammingspeed

      Did your Japanese wife find it for you since she does all your searches? I can’t believe after all these years living in Japan you don’t know the language.

      • Mick

        Why are you using Rammingspeed’s screenname? Are you unable to think up a screenname of your own?

        In fact, my wife did find that article. But she was looking on her own initiative, not mine. You see, like many people in Japan, she doesn’t like SS or Pete Bafun.

        “I can’t believe after all these years living in Japan you don’t know the language.”

        Who are you to make such an assumption? Have we met?

  • Pingback: Whale Wars Season Three Promo Poster Gives Bethune The Spotlight « :: the latest in green gossip()

  • Erik

    poor pete, singing like a canary, as if that’s really needed. The evidence is already locked up exactly the same as the home videos from “Worlds Stupidest Criminals” on the TRU network. Most places not only have a chance to prosecute the actual crimes, but to also recoup incurred damages and expenses, and then…punitive damages…
    Say Petey and Paulie, how much was each whale worth that you prevented the Whalers from taking?.
    Maybe the next thing we’ll see is civil action and finding out that Friday Harbor land owners are Japanese,and that they may own the only private lodge inside a national park (look it up, paulie accepted a donation and converted it to private property) And since donations pay for paulies land purchase in Friday Harbor, it’s all in the chain.
    congrats boys…you’ve done GREAT WORK

    • loveisall

      it’s a publicity stunt, and yes, this issue does need attention, most people don’t realize that this cetacean evolution lives over 150 years and is not only intelligent but loving towards man… it’s shameful that it takes these huge sensitive angels sometimes over an hour to die- although to be fair i read the average was 11 minutes. If we are monkeys, what kind of monkeys have we become? If we are created men, what kind of created men have we become? I don’t know which is more fearsome.

      • Erik

        Pretty effective publicity stunt eh ? One that could last up to 15 years. Really cheap at the price, let one fool get arrested and we can whine a long time about his being a “political pawn”.
        As to your claim that these minkes live 150 yrs. How about you provide a source for your “facts” the spelling of these whales name is M-I-N-K-E not BOWHEAD.
        I suppose that 1 hr time to death (TTD) might have occurred sometime, however, you failed to read the official data that records it at approximately 2 minutes. There too you might also read that if standard strength harpoon explosive loads were used, this TTD could be lowered even further, but that the damage caused would destroy data.
        You should also bring forth your links to data showing any of the great whales are any more intelligent than any other animal.As always, it will need to be peer reviewed and published. Published studies have shown that pigs, squid, octopi, bats, and many many more show signs of higher intelligence.
        Quit anthropomorphizing with animals, attempting to project YOUR values onto them simply shows you lack critical thinking. That being said, if you want to be a monkey.. you’re doing a rather good job, as for the rest of humanity, they will probably remain related to the great….APES….

  • loveisall

    ya he’s an animal rights extremist, costing the whaling industry millions of dollars. yes he has damaged harpoons/ whaling nets. yes he has thrown stink bombs on japanese decks. that’s what an extremist does.

    but whatever crap they wanna make up about him damaging their ship, or assaulting a crewman ( reminds me of what bad cops do, and the spirit of it is gross

  • Erik

    Most US jurisdictions have laws and methods in place to help wronged entities to recover actual losses caused by those that violate their rights. Many also have punitive measures that can be applied to punish those causing the damages and losses. These can be limited to double, or triple damages, and some are unlimited, bound only by the judges/juries decisions.If Japan has these processes they my soon own property in Friday Harbor, Wa, A hunting lodge in the middle of a National park, and several other properties owned by watson.
    Buthunes antics in boarding a foreign flagged vessel brought him under THEIR laws… your opinion is nothing more than stupid whining, Bethune should have looked up what he was getting into before falling for watsons idiotic planning.

  • John

    As Captain…he should of known better than to do the boarding. There are legal reasons not to…even if they ran over your boat. I can’t and won’t quit him for the mistake.
    I can’t find where many of the public condemned the Japanese captain for what was clearly attempted murder. They ran them down on purpose, could see the crew on topside deck, and if the ADY GIL had not got in to reverse when they did, the crew would have been crushed by the impact.
    Watch the video of the incident…it’s chilling.
    The news later about the bow and arrow, and Sea Shepard’s dismissing Bethune, is lame. I sent Sea Shepard the following email:

    Yeah! Sea Shepard…. I saw where Greenpeace declined to help free the tunas. They are lame. Maybe they are scared of Libians…but still they are lame at the same time.

    Just don’t hold Sea Shepard too high at the same time. The bow and arrow excuse is even worst.

    Reminds me of the time I picked up a cat after saving it from drowning in a flooded ditch. I held it close…and it pooped on me. I didn’t throw it back in…or even think I might be justified to do so.

    My caring and supporting Sea Shepard’s mission has just been slapped by the same effect !


    I still care…but it stinks!

    The cat made things better…later…when it showed me it liked me …appreciated me…adopted me…loved me…or whatever you call the things a cat does and we accept it as affection….without the other stuff happening.

    Sea Shepard needs to cut the smell….go back ….make an announcment….change the course…issue an new press release…or whatever it takes ….to see that Captain Bethune has a respected position at Sea Shepard of he’s still incined.

    I hope you do…but like the cat…I can’t make you love me.

    The point is…I can’t go and do what needs to be done, like Sea Shepard and Captain Bethune are doing. The rest of the HATERS will never brave a cause, or rise to go forth to such cold reality…they rather just sit and quip.
    To go there you need the Paul’s and Peter’s…and I will forgive them if mistakes are made. It’s not a place where perfect plans are made and executed, more ….they are going with an idea of what they want to do and can only act or react to what they find….and then act quickly. I’m proud they tried at all. I wish them the best of all things for trying.

  • Pingback: Sea Shepherd Activist Pete Bethune Receives Suspended Sentence « :: the latest in green gossip()

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