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The antagonists in the annual whaling confrontation are gathering.  From Australia the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) has announced that their vessels  DVV2 Brigitte Bardot sails from Fremantle, the MS Steve Irwin sailed from Albany and the MS Bob Barker sailed from Hobart.  There has been talk of a fourth vessel but nothing, so far, seems to have escaped to the blogs so one has to wonder if it is blowing in the divine wind.  All these are heading to the Southern Ocean on "Operation Divine Wind" which is supposed to prevent whaling - we wish.

But where is the Japanese Whaling Fleet (JWF) it seemed according to AIS tracks that the MS Nisshin Maru headed out to sea from Japans Inland Sea but not a word from the Japanese.  Now an article  forwarded from Japan arrived in the NAUTICAL LOG Press Folder.

According to The Mainichi Daily News of December 14, 2011 the Japanese Fisheries Agency has an increased budget of ¥2.3 billion, past by the Diet last month, for its whaling programme this year.  The budget also covers measures to be taken to defend against anti-whaling activities.  These include the cost of a guard ship and equipment for the Japan Coast Guard officers on board it.  Combined with the initial budget for the year ending March the total amount come to ¥3 billion compared to previous annual outlays of about ¥300 million to ¥900 million according to Japan Government officials.  It will be used to make up for an income loss to the Institute of Cetacean Research which conducts the Japanese Government sponsored research whaling in the Southern Ocean off Antarctica with subsidies.

On December 06, 2011 Japanese whaling vessels left the Port of Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture for the Antarctic accompanied by a Fisheries Agency guard ship as obstructions by the SSCS are anticipated.

On Thursday December 08, 2011 the research institute and Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd., which owns the whaling ships filed a lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court against the U.S. based Sea Shepherds and its founder Paul Watson against further disruption of whaling activities.

On another point but still connected to efforts of the SSCS at Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture the Hotel where the "Cove Guardians" are staying was raided by the Prefecture Police and the Guardians detained.  This follows the recent arrest of a Dutchman of the group.  It may indicate that the Japanese Authorities have had enough of being interfered with in their own sovereign country.  After all they let these people enter Japan stay at local hotels and be active against a local industry.  It would seem that those tolerant days have ended.  Lets look at a couple of points, Japan has had a rough year, the SSCS have taken advantage of those events, the SSCS fleet is registered in South Africa and The Netherlands.  The first to run foul of Japanese authority was a South African woman, the second was a Netherlands man, the third was the entire group. 

Japanese Government protection vessel
This may indicate that the SSCS vessels currently headed towards Antarctica will be met with serious force by the Japanese this Season and this could lead to tragedy.  Having seen what happened to the DVV1 Ady Gil indicates what will happen to the DVV2 Brigitte Bardot in a ramming incident.  As to those other old pieces of maritime junk a well aimed collision would most likely punch into the hull sinking them, rusting out portholes speeding the flooding.  Now "Wats-his-name" makes bravado statements about giving his life for the whales but how about the kids who are with him dazzled by this seagoing cult of Sea Shepherds.  You know a shepherd protects his flock and looks after his faithful working dogs, would that "Wats-his-name" did the same instead of risking their lives, for his own ego, to make a point.  Truly contemptible behaviour from someone who claims to be a Master Mariner.

NAUTICAL LOG would like to draw your attention to the organisations Centro de Conservaci√≥n Cetacea and Centro Ecoceanos of Chile who express their concerns for the Antarctic Region in recent articles and their body of work..

Good Watch

So here we are just a week from Christmas and there are over 300 of our fellow seafarers held captive by pirates off the coast of Somalia.  With still no rescue in sight it will not be a very merry Christmas for them.


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