With the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society gearing up for yet another confrontation down under with the Japanese whaling fleet, the amount of news being generated concerning this year’s “Whale Wars” is impressive. Four years after Animal Planet started filming the campaigns, worldwide press now tilts heavily towards covering the organization’s dramatic efforts to curb whaling in the Southern Ocean. Here’s the latest:
- Remember that submarine Sea Shepherd bought back in 1994 for $250K, but never used? Could it be that they’re in the market for a more reliable and updated version? Paul Watson posted this photo on Facebook of him testing out a C-Explorer 2 person submersible at the Monaco Yacht Show back in September. “Looking for 1000 metres for 8 hours,” he wrote. With a rated 3 knots underwater, this is definitely not something that would be used in action – but perhaps as surveillance?
- Is Australia sending a ship to monitor this year’s hunt? Rumors spread towards the end of last month that the massive (and, shhh, secret) “Ocean Protector” was getting ready for the job; but federal Environment Minister Tony Burke shot them down. Alas, it appears that the Aussies will be watching “Whale Wars” along with everyone else for the latest on what’s happening in their backyard.
- Paul Watson is apparently no longer on Interpol’s “Blue” list, a move Japan took back in 2010 to “monitor” his movements. “Damn but I’m going to miss the quick trips to the front of the arrival line,” he wrote on Facebook. “I tried to tell the immigration officer in Sydney, ‘There must be some mistake. Japan has declared me to be a dangerous eco-terrorist. They put me on the Blue List just like China did with the Dalai Lama. Run my passport again, there must be a mistake.’ She answered, ‘we know who you are and nothing’s come up. Welcome to Australia again Captain Watson – good luck down there this year.’ What? No hassles? no questions? no checking the bags? I feel so rejected.”
- In case you weren’t aware, the entire SSCS fleet (Steve Irwin, Bob Barker, and Brigitte Bardot) is closing in on Australia. For those interested, the Bob Barker will be available for public tours in Sydney on November 10th-12th.
- What about that rumored mysterious fourth ship? The need for the vessel was publicly expressed back in July as a means to cover Japan’s third harpoon ship. “We need one large vessel for each of the harpoon vessels. The Japanese tactic of tailing our two large ships to relay our position ahead to the factory ships works, but at the cost of sacrificing the whale killing activities of each harpoon vessel,” said Captain Locky MacLean. Nobody knows if that need has been filled – and the org has a knack for keeping things a surprise for the Japanese first (as they did with the introduction of the Bob Barker). Hang tight – I’d say there’s a good chance we’ll see something new to fulfill some of the “surprises” Watson keeps saying he’s bringing this year.
- Remember the $28M the Japanese whaling fleet had requested this year on top of their standard $10M subsidy? They got it – with the Fisheries Agency saying it will help the fleet “conduct scientific whaling in the Southern Ocean according to the original plan.” Read: Needless killing without hindrance from the Sea Shepherd. Expect some kind of security vessel to accompany the fleet; though it’s unclear just how effective it will be at stymieing three (or four) SSCS ships.
- Finally, the Sea Shepherd threw a successful fundraising bash last week, “Stand up for the Oceans”, with celebs like Martin Sheen, Sarah Silverman, Alyssa Milano, and many more in attendance. According to a posting on the Planet Ocean Alliance boards, the original “Bond” Sean Connery has agreed to sign on as an “Advisory Member” for the conservation org.