Monday, December 21, 2009

BOUILLABAISSE

TAAF Service vessel operated by CMA CGM
TAAF Regional flag

Well now let us see if here at NAUTICAL LOG we have got a grasp on things simmering in the pot. It seems that when the anti-whaling campaign started out some years ago it was between Greenpeace, the Sea Shepherds and the Japanese whaling fleet. The Australians came down to their own Southern Ocean Territory in a chartered civilian vessel one year. Beyond taking photographs and returning some Sea Shepherds to their ship the MS "Steve Irwin" not much was accomplished. The Greenpeace crowd then dropped out and Animal Planet boarded the MS "Steve Irwin" to shoot 'reality TV' and so Whale Wars came into being.

This resulted in some deplorable behaviour on all sides and some appalling exhibitions of seamanship - or rather total lack of seamanship by the Sea Shepherds. But now there was money coming in which could be spent on - well nobody really knows what the money is spent on.

New Zealand made it quite clear that the MS "Steve Irwin" was unwelcome in New Zealand waters. Also a New Zealand citizen was a spokesperson for the Japanese whaling fleet. At the end of last season the Australian Federal Police arrested the vessel on its return to Hobart, Tasmania. Videos, photographs, logbooks and shipboard records were all impounded for inspection, search warrants executed and various crewmembers, who were Australian citizens, were questioned. The longtime 1st. Officer left the vessel which was generally considered a positive step by a large segment of the crew. The Dutch government as Flag State decided not to enforce its authority to deflag the MS "Steve Irwin" in spite of its deliberate acts of piracy. The Australian Government as Port State declined to make any meaningful decisions and let things drift along.

Now we come to this year. In the midst of an international meeting in New Zealand to discuss the 'protection' of the Antarctic waters and the development of a 'Polar Code' the anti-whaling group sails from ports in Australia. This year there is a second vessel the DVC "Ady Gil" which so far does not seem to have got very far. That vessel has a Flag State of New Zealand. So to summarize, we have Flag States of The Netherlands, and New Zealand, a Port State of Australia and just to make things really interesting the French, who you ask - the French?

Indeed the French. You see they have an overseas territory interest in the region namely "Les terres australes et antarctiques francaises (TAAF)". As we have seen from the previous Posts there are diplomats posted by the French Foreign Office to the TAAF and as reported these diplomats have added some seasoning to the bouillabaisse. One awaits its serving with interest in the days ahead and the reaction of the Japanese, perhaps they will be adding some whale meat.

Good Watch.

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