In a Press Release consisting of a confused rant 'Wats-his-name' has mentioned the fact that Togo has stripped MS Bob Barker of its flag. Also mentioned is the fact that the MS Steve Irwin is returning to Hobart Tasmania due to 'being down to its last reserves of fuel'. This just days after stating that both vessels had fuel to remain with the Japanese Whaling Fleet 'well into March' until the end of the season. The indications are that 'Wats-his-name' really does not know what is going on aboard his ships, cannot read fuel tank soundings correctly or a combination of both. It may be that having told so many conflicting stories that he now has trouble keep track of them.
In view of the Australian Government threatening the Japanese Government it must be hoped that they detain the MS Steve Irwin in Hobart at least until the whaling season ends. On the Japanese side they would be well within maritime law rights to arrest the MS Steve Irwin, outside Australian Territorial Waters. This could be effected on her way to Hobart or if she should sail from Hobart after refuelling. They could then remove her Captain and Officers to Japan to stand trial along with Bethune. This should recognize 'THE YEAR OF THE SEAFARER 2010' nicely for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) since they have not even acknowledged the deflagging by Togo.
FACING FACTS: 0800 February 23, 2010.
Interestingly to date the Sea Shepherd Pirate Group has not acknowledged the fact that TOGO has deflagged their 'pirate ship' MS Bob Barker. As usual 'Wats-his-name' goes yo-ho-ho merrily on in a fog of his own. By not facing the real world he actually avoids accomplishing something really constructive to stop the whale slaughter. Of course if that happened his self-romantic world would cease to exist.
CONFIRMATION: 1145 February 21, 2010.
In an ICR Press Release the Japanese Government confirms that the SS-PG vessel MS Bob Barker is indeed flagless. She has been deflagged by the West African nation of Togo. There has been no comment from SS-PG at this time.
This morning the SS-PG Media Release on my desk was somewhat better to read. Like most other people around the world NAUTICAL LOG is quite firmly against whaling in any form in this the 21st. Century. Where Sea Shepherds have gone "wrong" - in our opinion - is in its methods, the violence and nautical thuggery have been obscene. If the SS-PG can prevent further whaling during the next three weeks the season will be closed and a severe economic impact made to the Fleet.
In the last couple of weeks however there seems to be a slight toning down of the violence. They did throw plastic 'crocodile dundees' - wonder if those are biodegradable. What the heck it gets pretty boring down there in the Southern Ocean and if people want to throw $50 dollar toys in the sea so be it. No worries mate!
The present tactics of following the Japanese whaling fleet and preventing it from killing whales is excellent. In turn the Japanese seem to be remaining outside the Australian EEZ as they are required to do by both the Australian Federal Court and International Maritime Law. This is most likely a diplomatic step as Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada is visiting Australia. The timing of the Fleet's current navigational position means that a very touchy subject can be smoothly avoided. Japanese culture loves to avoid confrontational issues in face-to-face meetings so that should work out nicely from the Katsuya Okada point of view.
The real issue will be what will happen when the Foreign Minister's visit is over, will the Fleet return inside the Australian EEZ. In Japanese culture, this would be a mark of contempt and grave disrespect to Australia. Samurai's would have instantly gone to war in such a case and at present Japan is under serious pressure due to the behaviour of the Toyota Group's handling of its various car problems.
Finally it is reported that the MS Shonan Maru #2 has been detached from the Fleet and is returning to Japan. Detained aboard her is the New Zealander Peter Bethune who will now face the Japanese Court as a result of his pointless boarding of that vessel underway at sea. A possible punishment for that action is three years confined to a Japanese prison. That should be a very sobering experience consisting of basically solitary confinement with a very strict regime.
UPDATE: 1700 February 19, 2010
It appears that the West African nation of Togo has displayed more responsibility than the traditional maritime nation of The Netherlands as it has apparently deflagged the SS-PG vessel MS Bob Barker. This leaves that vessel stateless under maritime law, it will be interesting to see if a nation and port accepts her.
In fact far from disciplining SS-PG The Netherlands offers them financial support. The Dutch National Postcode Lottery just issued a cheque for 1 million Euros to the Sea Shepherd Pirate Group to help sustain it. The Dutch Parliament has collapsed over its troops being in Afghanistan and the Cabinet has presented its resignation to HM Queen Beatrix.
'Potheadlijke' confusion in the swamp!