Thursday, December 16, 2010

IN HARM'S WAY


JCC Survey Ship HL 01 Shoyo



PL 62 Hakata (armed vessel)


PL 51 Hida (armed vessel)






Once again the Whale Wars violence has been declared this time it appears by both the Japanese Whaling Fleet and the Sea Shepherds. In an editorial on Tuesday December 14, 2010 there is a report that a journalist in Japan reported the Whaling Fleet fully intends to kill whales if necessary in front of the Sea Shepherds rather than follow the tactics of previous seasons. Instead of running from the Sea Shepherd vessels to kill whales away from them they will carry on whaling regardless of the presence of Sea Shepherd vessels. Fearless leader 'Wats-his-name' has stated in response:

"I would strongly advise the Japanese crewmembers to be very careful in implementing such a strategy-----I will not abide by a whale being killed in our presence------I would without hesitation place my ship in harm's way to save the life of a whale."

This is of course a clear and direct threat to the Japanese and is why the Japan Coast Guard personnel are on board their vessels to resist - which they will do. The editorial goes on to say that Sea Shepherd fully expects the Japanese whalers to be more hostile, aggressive and angry. They also feel the Japanese have been told they are cleared to act more violently as a result of the successful action against the Ady Gil and the New Zealander Bethune.

In spite of that diplomatic statement by the Foreign Minister of New Zealand it seems neither side is prepared to follow the Law of the Sea, armed Japan Coast Guard personnel are on board the whaling fleet vessels and most certainly they are not there to take those "research" photographs mentioned under the JARPA and JARPA II whale surveys in AREAS V and VI. Though it is a possibilty that Japan Coast Guard vessels could conduct this planned whale survey and then also be available to the Japanese Whaling Fleet if needed.

Both Australia and New Zealand have now stated that they will not be sending their Navy ships to patrol in the Southern Ocean. If there is a conflict and personnel need rescuing or assistance however New Zealand is the country responsible to assist as they mann the Rescue Coordination Center under RCCNZ. Also it is very possible that Japan's Navy would respond if Japanese citizens are in need of assistance. Previously NAUTICAL LOG has shown all this and the vessels available in Posts because we were quite expecting this situation to develop as it has.

While 'Wats-his-name' seems to think that his crews will follow any instructions given them to proceed "In Harm's Way" this may not be the case. It is reported that after last season there were intense discussions about many aspects of his tactics. Particularly disturbing to those on board and indeed at least some of the officers, was leaving the small fast boats (RHIB's) behind to fend for themselves. It must be remembered that a Masters first duty is to the safety of his ship and her crew, it would seem there is quite an awareness of this duty after the behaviour of Bethune in the Ady Gil. In spite of the comments of 'Wats-his-name' about Bethune's cowboy tactics his actions were fully approved by 'Wats-his-name' as the person in overall command of the Sea Shepherd Fleet. and this is clearly stated in Maritime Law and Common Law precedent.

The Sea Shepherd Masters and Officers are all fully aware of the lack of honesty shall we say and the remarks made by 'Wats-his-name' after that event - there but for the grace of Neptune go I - is the thinking now.

Good Watch.

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