Amongst the papers landing on NAUTICAL LOG desk this morning was a report from Brussels Belgium, the European Union capital city.
The Dutch Government has submitted a Bill that would empower it to strip violent anti-whaling environmentalists of the registry of their ships. This follows violent protests against Japanese whalers by Dutch registered ships of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
The amendment to the law on the nationality of ships would deprive Dutch registered vessels of Certificates of Registry - Zeebrievenwet - issued by the Dutch Government
"when harm is done to a ship, its crew or load or when it would be used in such a way that relations with other countries could be affected negatively"
according to the draft legislation.
The existing Law was enacted in 1926 and empowers the Government to strip ships of their Dutch nationality only in cases where ships are used to practice piracy, transport slaves or bring The Netherlands into a war-like situation.
Although the Dutch Parliament has started deliberations on the proposed amendment some parliamentary critics of whaling are cautious about enacting it making it uncertain whether the amendment will be able to pass parliament.
The Dutch Government told parliament it has drawn up the Bill in light of a string of harassing actions in Antarctic waters by the Sea Shepherd vessel MS Steve Irwin which is of Dutch registry now commonly called the Flag State. The Government told parliament that it will deflag only as a last resort if the protesters do not heed warnings against the use of violent tactics.
At the beginning of March parliamentary specialists will meet to study the proposed legislation. This procedure will take up to six months.
The entire process NAUTICAL LOG believes is designed to give the Sea Shepherd Pirate Group (SS-PG) plenty of time to arrange a new Flag State most likely in one of the many 'convenience' Flag States and have the whole problem just go away from The Netherlands jurisdiction.
Also there is the legal morass created by the French TAAF Prefect and his District Chief of Adelie Land, in issuing a 'Diplomatic Letter of Approval' to the SS-PG. The SS-PG Bluefin action, planned for later this year, will take place in the Mediterranean and pits European Union Nation against European Union Nation. This comes about with a Dutch registered vessel holding a French 'Diplomatic Letter of Approval' planning to take violent action against Mediterranean Spanish, French, Maltese, Italian, Sicilian, Cypriot, and Greek fishermen (refer to the CONUNDRUM Post previously).