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SHIPS, WHALES, BLUEFINS AND LEGAL SYSTEMS

MS Steve Irwin
Loose at sea from Hobart, TAS. Supposedly bound for Europe - but the world wonders?
UPDATE March 26, 2010:
According to Mr. Roest's statement the SS-PG vessel MS Steve Irwin sailed from Hobart, TAS for sea. However she is not showing on international ship tracking systems thus one presumes she is a 'rogue' vessel.

Opening the morning NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder is always interesting and sometimes material for a Post. Today was no exception, we had a report from our EU correspondent based in Ireland about an ITF action there. This was followed by two Releases from the Sea Shepherd Pirate Group (SS-PG) which addressed Mr. Bethune and bluefin tuna - no surprise there. So lets have a look at the Bethune case for a start.

The SS-PG with a weak showing, compared to its usual strident outpouring of adjusted facts to suit itself, states that Bethune peacefully boarded the MS Shonan Maru #2 on February 15, 2010. Of course by doing that he violated Japanese Maritime Law which forbids the boarding of a Japanese Flag State vessel underway at sea without the prior approval of the vessel's Master. Since Bethune did not have such permission he was detained by the vessel's Master. Transported to Tokyo, Japan he was arrested by the Japan Coastguard and charged under Japanese Maritime Laws. All this has been discussed before and Bethune is very likely to appear in a Japanese Court to answer those specific charges.

The reason why he boarded the MS Shonan Maru #2 in the first place is linked by the SS-PG to a previous incident but in fact it is an entirely separate issue. It is the collision some days before between the MS Shonan Maru #2 and Bethune's vessel the Ady Gil. This collision resulted in so severe damage, she was literally cut in half, that some time later she sank. There was no loss of life due to the Ady Gil crew being rescued by another SS-PG vessel the MS Bob Barker which was standing by observing and videoing the collision. Supposedly there was an attempt to save the Ady Gil but it was clearly, from video supplied by both SS-PG and the Japanese, quite unsuccessful.

It remains to be seen if the Japanese choose to investigate the collision incident while they have Mr. Bethune in Japanese jurisdiction. For now NAUTICAL LOG will leave it there and address the collision incident at another time. Now for the second SS-PG Press Release, NAUTICAL LOG has written a Post (SILENCE OF THE "LAMBS") below on the failure of the Monaco proposal at CITES to ban bluefin tuna fishing.

A statement by Steve Roest, Chief Executive Officer of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says:

"Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (Sea Shepherd) will be arriving in the Mediterranean this summer and will stand against the illegal overfishing of bluefin tuna. Sea Shepherd will do everything possible within boundaries of international law to protect the magnificent bluefin. By sea, air and land, preparations are well underway for the Mediterranean bluefin tuna defense campaign, and Sea Shepherd's flagship vessel Steve Irwin, having just returned from intervening against illegal whaling off the coast of Antarctica, is now on its way to enforce international conservation law in European waters."

Interestingly the statement is put out under Mr. Roest's name and not one of 'Wats-his-names' bravado ranting writings. It may well be that his influence has wained somewhat perhaps as a result of the complete disaster of "Operation Waltzing Matilda". From the above statement it would appear that the MS Steve Irwin has left its sanctuary pirate lair Port of Hobart, TAS and is heading - where? Perhaps across the Pacific to Panama for a Canal transit and on to Europe, a voyage of some 12,000 nautical miles.

Well ITF now is your chance to make a stand against maritime thuggery by finding out what Australian Unions supplied port services for the MS Steve Irwin to prepare for her voyage and which Hobart Pilot guided her to sea. If she ever reaches Europe and engages in any form of violence they can be charged with aiding and abetting maritime thuggery.

Good Watch.

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