Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Today in the NAUTICAL LOG Press Release folder came news which confirmed private sources information received some months ago. At that time it was thought that the Japanese Whaling Fleet would be protected by an armed force during the 2010-2011 Southern Ocean whaling season. We were given to understand that a private maritime security company would be the most likely possibility. Today it was announced that armed Japan Coast Guard personnel would be aboard each vessel for the duration of whaling operations. As a result the Government of New Zealand is taking a particular interest and this may well result in New Zealand Naval patrols being in the area of responsibility of New Zealand. NAUTICAL LOG has shown this area in a previous Post.
To quote the Foreign Affairs Minister of NZ:
"Anyone who looks at what happened last year has got to be fearful that there will be loss of human life under those circumstances and again I take this opportunity of appealing to both parties to adhere to the law of the sea and to make sure they show the regard they're obliged to show for the safety of other human beings in the region."
Well NAUTICAL LOG is quite sure that in spite of this diplomatic speech, as required by Foreign Ministers on these occasions, the 'Wats-his-name' pirate group have never followed the Law of the Sea and always shown a complete disregard for it and the safety of their crews. This has been confirmed by NAUTICAL LOG sources aboard the vessels whom are greatly concerned with how the crews in the small fast boats are being treated. One remembers last season as shown on "Whale Wars" how the small boat crew was left behind as the MS Steve Irwin just kept going ahead and ignoring the concern on the Bridge for their fellow seafarers safety. Foreign Minister McCully also said that New Zealand, while staying out of the case against Japan filed by Australia, has still got Intervening Rights meaning in law that it can make oral and written submissions. This leaves New Zealand free to pursue diplomatic channels to end Southern Ocean whaling entirely, something all of us who take a serious interest each season desire. Australia because of suing Japan cannot under law now pursue diplomatic options. In fact Australia will very likely lose the case so the diplomatic solution is the better option.
Should the NZ government decide to sent its Navy on patrol there are two suitable classes of vessel available as shown above. Clearly the larger class vessel would be more desirable in that area of storms and heavy seas plus she has a helicopter deck which would greatly extend the patrol area.