Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Japanese whalers take custody of Sea Shepherd crew


  • Please log in to reply
112 replies to this topic

#1 echeng

echeng

    The Blue

  • Admin
  • 5842 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Francisco, CA
  • Interests:photography, ice cream, cello, chamber music, quadcopters

Posted 16 January 2008 - 02:11 AM

Posted Image

On January 15, the Australian Federal Court ruled that Japan is breaking the law by killing whales in the Australian whale sanctuary. Australian jurisdiction of those waters around Antarctica is not universally recognized, but the ruling seems like a good precedent.

Yesterday morning, I received an e-mail from a friend who is currently on the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin in Antarctica (satellite is cool):

... when the Yushin Maru did not respond to our radio contact about today's Australian Federal Court decision banning whaling in these waters, we decided to send two of our crew members on board to deliver a letter to its captain.

The letter stated that they intended no harm and were simply there as messengers. It requested that they be released to our ship upon delivery of the letter. Instead, three Japanese whalers attempted to throw Pottsy (Benjamin Potts, Australian citizen) overboard while travelling at approximately 17 knots, then finally settled on tying him to the ship. They did the same with Giles (Giles Lane, British citizen), but were more agressive with Giles and used a lot more rope. Still, it doesn't seem as though they will be harmed.

Japan said that Potts and Lane were not tied up, but there are photos all over the internet showing that they were, indeed, tied to what looks like a pipe along the wall.

Posted Image
You can't fight with photographic evidence.

There are lots of articles online about the stand-off:

BBC
Reuters
Google News (lots of articles)
eric cheng
publisher/editor, wetpixel
www | journal | photos


#2 loftus

loftus

    Blue Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4571 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Winter Park, Fl

Posted 16 January 2008 - 03:47 AM

This is all very disturbing; hope these guys get released quickly and no harm comes to them.
Have to send some cash to Sea Shepherd.
Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#3 pakman

pakman

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1099 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hong Kong via Seattle...

Posted 16 January 2008 - 04:01 AM

I'm sorry, but I have absolutely no sympathy for those two Sea Shepherd guys.

Canon 40D, S&S MDX-40D housing, Inon Z-240's
Sony HC7 & Gates Housing
 


#4 Balrog

Balrog

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 346 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Poole UK

Posted 16 January 2008 - 04:13 AM

Thanks for the links. Maybe this will bring the issue to a head and more international pressure will be applied to the Japanese. I'll be sending a donation too.

I also see there's a link on the Reuters page to news about a crown of thorns outbreak in the Asian coral triangle.

#5 loftus

loftus

    Blue Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4571 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Winter Park, Fl

Posted 16 January 2008 - 04:56 AM

I'm sorry, but I have absolutely no sympathy for those two Sea Shepherd guys.

This would be an interesting discussion. First Greenpeace, now Sea Shepherd. Sometimes tactics can be questioned, but hell, what's to be done about fishing / whaling vessels ignoring everyone else?
Either way, right or wrong, I'd hate to see any of these guys getting hurt.

Edited by loftus, 16 January 2008 - 04:58 AM.

Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#6 pakman

pakman

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1099 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hong Kong via Seattle...

Posted 16 January 2008 - 05:06 AM

Loftus, true it's a thorny issue. I'm not siding with the Japanese on the whaling issue, but personally I just disagree with Sea Shepherd's methods. I will just leave it at that and hope that no one gets injured in this recent event.

I did find Paul Watson's comments amusing:

The Sea Shepherd captain, Paul Watson, says he does not agree with the release conditions which have been sent to the ship.

"They're still holding our crew members hostages," he said.

"The Institute of Cetacean Research Centre sent us an email saying they'll release them if we agree not to interfere with their whaling operation.

"Now when you hold hostages and make demands that's a terrorist act
we're not going to give into that they should release them unconditionally."


Oh, I guess threatening to ram and sink whaling vessels isn't?

Canon 40D, S&S MDX-40D housing, Inon Z-240's
Sony HC7 & Gates Housing
 


#7 loftus

loftus

    Blue Whale

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4571 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Winter Park, Fl

Posted 16 January 2008 - 05:11 AM

Yeah, harassment is one thing, threatening to ram and sink is another.
Clearly Paul Watson will milk this all he can; unfortunately you cannot hear Paul Watson and not think that he's driven as much by ego as by his legitimate concern for the issues.

Edited by loftus, 16 January 2008 - 05:13 AM.

Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.

#8 Giles

Giles

    International Supermodel

  • Moderator
  • 2618 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Cayman Islands
  • Interests:water and sun my friend, thats what turns me on.

Posted 16 January 2008 - 05:24 AM

Personally .. I hope the same as everyone else .. that the guys come out of it ok ... and that regular methods of preventing the fisherman from catching whales, like politely asking, would work. However it doesn't.

So my opinion is that this should (and if it doesn't something went very wrong) bring all this whaling to the forefront. They have gone from illegal (or at least immoral and unethical) fishing to kidnapping / hostage taking / terrorist act .. however you want to phrase it which should help the anti whaling campaign, hopefully without any martyrs.

Lets hope some real good comes from this all !
me on the web >> journal / flickr / portfolio
i use >> my camera, eye & stunning good looks

#9 Timmoranuk

Timmoranuk

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1169 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Near NDAC, South Wales
  • Interests:Technical diving; open circuit and rebreather, U/W photography, topside photography, travel, aviation and sailing.

Posted 16 January 2008 - 06:43 AM

Dosn't it wranckle that each and every one of us are utterly dependent on Japanese products...?
· Canon 5D3, 7D & Nauticam housings. Sigma 15mm, Canon 16-35mm, Tokina 10-17mm, Sigma 8-16mm, Canon 10-22mm, Sigma 17-70mm, Sigma 70-200mm, Sigma 120-300mm, Canon 60mm & 100mm
· INON Z-240s & Sea & Sea YS-250 Pros
· SmallHD DP4 monitor & NA-DP4. Fisheye Aquavolt 3500s & 7000s
· Zen DP-100, DP-200 & DP-230

#10 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10642 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 16 January 2008 - 07:23 AM

I believe the Japanese do have precedent to bring charges on Potts and Lane. Illegal boarding of a vessel at sea is considered piracy (or at least illegal), especially IF they were really carrying the acid that the ICR claims they did. Greenpeace activitists were charged before in the US and Canada. These guys could be charged in Japan (since that's where the flag of the ship is registered)
I do know that in this game of he said, she said... it's bound to create publicity for Sea Shepherd and a PR nightmare for the ICR. I'm sure Potts and Lane both knew the consequences before embarking on this dangerously stupid boarding. I mean 2 SS crew were ironically rescued last year by the Japanese after their attempt to mess with the whaler ship bungled miserably. Jumping around in 0°C water isn't a joyride and I hope no one gets seriously hurt or killed. Unfortunately, these standoffs are going to happen more frequently.

Dosn't it wranckle that each and every one of us are utterly dependent on Japanese products...?


Tim, we all have a choice to buy or not. We can stop buying many (and any) Japanese products if we really wanted to. Do I really need that new electronic toy? It's the same for going to dive in Myanmarese waters. There's all sorts of human rights abuses going on and I know a few friends who have boycotted diving there (as have I). Then the Olympics in China this year. The illegal logging for Merbau wood in Indonesia for the olympic village construction is one of the main reasons I won't go to Beijing, even though many of my friends are. Or not eating seafood because of the fishery policies as a few members of Wetpixel do (myself included.) We make ourselves dependent on Japanese/Chinese or any other product by wanting it. I mean we can buy german cars but there are bound to be some products from China or Korea (most probably the IC chips).
How many people care enough to inconvenience their own lives?

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#11 pakman

pakman

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1099 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hong Kong via Seattle...

Posted 16 January 2008 - 07:34 AM

it's bound to create publicity for Sea Shepherd and a PR nightmare for the ICR.


Maybe the Japanese whalers should have video taped the two being coerced into eating whale blubber, smiling to camera saying "oishii (taste good)..."

Canon 40D, S&S MDX-40D housing, Inon Z-240's
Sony HC7 & Gates Housing
 


#12 james

james

    The Engineer

  • Super Mod
  • 9969 posts
  • Location:Houston TX

Posted 16 January 2008 - 07:55 AM

Interesting encounter. I agree that boarding a vessel on the high seas without permission from the vessel's captain is crazy. At the least it's illegal and at worst is piracy. There are many other ways to deliver a message...

James
Canon 1DsMkIII - Seacam Housing
Dual Ikelite Strobes
Photo site - www.reefpix.org

#13 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10642 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 16 January 2008 - 08:36 AM

Maybe the Japanese whalers should have video taped the two being coerced into eating whale blubber, smiling to camera saying "oishii (taste good)..."


Lemme guess... you're not in PR, are you? :) And really I do think that's the problem. The Japanese lose on spin because their responses have been very Japanese in thinking. Deny, keep quiet, outrage but no humanity spin. The spin doctors at GP and SS oth, have everything catered for media sensation. As in this case.

They have gone from illegal (or at least immoral and unethical) fishing to kidnapping / hostage taking / terrorist act

Btw Giles, it's not kidnapping if the 2 bozos leap onto your boat uninvited. That's called trespassing and detention for prosecution. In a few unruly countries, that's enough to get you shot right there :)

Terrorist act is the French blowing up a ship and killing their crew. Threatening to ram a ship is rhetoric but I think the incident with the Robert Hunter and the Kaiko Maru is indicative that this game is high stakes. It could've been much worse. Unfortunately it's so easy to lose it and go nuts and the consequences could mean 2 crippled or worse ships in high seas and little means of rescue.


There are many other ways to deliver a message...

yeah, you'd think they'd do the message over the radio in japanese. But then again, many asian girls use that ol' "no speak ingrish" when not wanting to be bothered. :)

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#14 photovan

photovan

    Great White

  • Moderator
  • 979 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Brisbane, Australia

Posted 16 January 2008 - 09:17 AM

As with all protests, it will take different approaches if there is to be a result.

Rabble-rousing by the likes of SS and GP, legal challenges by HSI, quiet negotiation by others, diplomacy, school kids signing petitions...the list goes on. All the different players feed off each, and diferent methods appeal to different audiences.

Boring press conferences about the latest legal challenge get much better airtime if the piece can include a bit of footage of some crazy direct action.

At least it's keeping the issue in the news.

Darren Jew  |  Australia  |  darrenjew.com  |  fotofrenzy.com.au

Canon EOS1Dx   |   EOSM   |   Nauticam  |   Inon Z240


#15 seagrant

seagrant

    Great Hammerhead

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 789 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Clearwater, Florida
  • Interests:http://www.oceangrant.com

Posted 16 January 2008 - 09:44 AM

On January 15, the Australian Federal Court ruled that Japan is breaking the law by killing whales in the Australian whale sanctuary. Australian jurisdiction of those waters around Antarctica is not universally recognized, but the ruling seems like a good precedent.


Eric I'm glad you referenced this first - yes this is a good precedent. And my hopes for the SS crew's safety is with them.


As with all protests, it will take different approaches if there is to be a result.

Rabble-rousing by the likes of SS and GP, legal challenges by HSI, quiet negotiation by others, diplomacy, school kids signing petitions...the list goes on. All the different players feed off each, and diferent methods appeal to different audiences.


I agree with Darren here as there are lots of ways to deal with illegal activity and the combination of different approaches in coordination will have an impact.

But I must say that illegal actions - even to fight illegal activities - must be avoided at all costs as some very good organizations have gotten into heaps of trouble themselves and come apart this way. SS and Paul Watson need to keep this in the forefront that they are fighting crime with legal actions or they will always be in a world of hurt. I don't censure Paul Watson for feeling the necessity to take drastic actions because the scale and brutality of the illegal actions needs to be countered. But he has got to stay within the law, even if "they" are breaking the law. But then it comes up to what actually is "breaking the law" and what is not. I'm not a lawyer so I'll leave that to others.

I'm glad the Sea Shepherd is out there and I think it is necessary. They just need to watch what they do and work within the law and I'll support them. Sometimes it takes a lot of force of equal magnitude to fight injustice.

But again children writing letter campaigns, diplomacy, celebrities speaking out - all can play a role is stopping this slaughter. And maybe even a greater impact?

Carol

http://www.oceangrant.com
Facebook-Oceangrant

Twitter-Oceangrant

d300/Subal/ULCS/Sea & Sea 110s/16;12-24;60;105vr;Tokina 10-17


#16 vincentkneefel

vincentkneefel

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 170 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Vancouver

Posted 16 January 2008 - 10:30 AM

Maybe the Japanese whalers should have video taped the two being coerced into eating whale blubber, smiling to camera saying "oishii (taste good)..."


You may not agree with Sea Shepherd's practices; but because of the Japanese this is a game without rules. The Japanese started it all and they are aware that they are breaking International Law. We should be very happy that at least some organizations are trying to enfore international law (Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace), because if they would not do so, the massive slaughter would just take place without notice. Diplomacy does not succeed, because economic interests with Japan are too important for governments (> that's also why the government of Australia is not doing anything).

Now the situation is really getting out of control, this dispute should be solved through the United Nations, instead of through economic sanctions.

Tim, we all have a choice to buy or not. We can stop buying many (and any) Japanese products if we really wanted to. Do I really need that new electronic toy?


Economic sanctions influence a lot of innocent people. Also a sanction is not very benificial for free trade and this can have serieus economic consequences for the sanctioning party. For example, both NIKON and CANON are originally from Japan, so should all u/w photographers stop shooting these brands because only a tiny fraction of Japanese wants to eat Whale meat?



Japanese Whalers Make Demands for Return of Hostages

The Institute of Cetacean Research, the front group for the illegal Japanese whaling operations are making demands for the release of the two Sea Shepherd crew being held hostage onboard the Japanese whaling vessel Yushin Maru No. 2.

The whalers said they will return the hostages in return for Sea Shepherd agreeing to no longer interfere with their whaling operations.

“The Institute of Cetacean Research is acting like a terrorist organization,” said Steve Irwin’s 1st Officer Peter Brown. “Here they are taking hostages and making demands. Our policy is that we don’t respond to terrorist demands.”

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has heard reports from the media that Japan has agreed to release the hostages but the Steve Irwin has not heard anything official from either the Australian or Japanese governments.

“The activities of the Japanese whaling fleet are illegal under international conservation law. The Japanese are poachers and should be treated in the same manner as elephant or tiger poachers,” said Captain Paul Watson.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will not negotiate with poachers and demands that the Japanese whalers release Benjamin Potts and Giles Lane as soon as possible.

The location of the Yushin Maru No. 2 with the hostages onboard is not known presently. The vessel is no longer in sight or within radar range of the Steve Irwin.

Edited by vincentkneefel, 16 January 2008 - 10:32 AM.

Vincent Kneefel - Website
Seacam for Canon 1ds Mark II, 15mm FE, 17-40mm, 100mm Macro

#17 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10642 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 16 January 2008 - 11:35 AM

Economic sanctions influence a lot of innocent people. Also a sanction is not very benificial for free trade and this can have serieus economic consequences for the sanctioning party. For example, both NIKON and CANON are originally from Japan, so should all u/w photographers stop shooting these brands because only a tiny fraction of Japanese wants to eat Whale meat?

Exactly my point. Tim made the comment that we are dependent on Japanese products, and we are really not. If it really were that important, people would do something that drastic. Boycotts of goods is another PR activity. Wholefoods partially did it with Icelandic products no longer being promoted because of the whaling.
The issue is even bigger since IWC is a voluntary organization. Countries who join do so voluntarily. The only way to legally stop the whaling in the Antarctic is to hit them in the World Court and if they refuse, then sanctions can be brought onto them. How many countries want to do that?
Let's be realistic in that while the new Australian government is now making good on campaign promises on anti-whaling (and it has a decent sized whalewatching industry to boot), they too have yet to bring the Japanese to the World Court because they have no case( although there has been talk of it from various politicians, but it's all political rhetoric). The Japanese actually have permits under JARPAII and JAPRN II which allow them to hunt for 'scientific purposes' in the Antarctic. The Norwegians have no such permit and hunt at their own discretion. They have set their own limits since 1993 and have taken thousands of whales. The IWC protocols are only binding to countries who want to adhere to them. Norway has ignored them entirely while the Japanese 'legally' found ways to hunt, albeit for a sham scientific purpose. I believe that this PR campaign directed at the Japanese alone is ineffective and brings out nationalistic pride which is counterproductive to the cause. The excuse that the Norwegians hunt an over abundant stock of Minkes in the North Sea is tenuous. The southern Antarctic Minke population numbers more than the North Sea population.
The real pressure is on the IWC rescinding the permits now that non-lethal methods have been developed for scientific study. Then we shall see how the Japanese react.
We all have to accept that for a country with no real food resource, the Japanese are also stretching their influence to protect a food source, indoctrinated by the US in the 50s and 60s for cheap abundant protein. In the real world, everything is a resource to be used and managed.
Sea Shepherd does great work in Galapagos and other areas. The one thing I do question is this dangerous game they play in the Southern Ocean. It's risking the lives of many people. It's one thing to interfere with the hunt via shadowing. It's another to board the boat of a sovereign ship uninvited then claim those trespassers have been kidnapped. I mean, I'm sure even Paul Watson knows something about bargaining. "Get your guys and go away or we prosecute them for trespassing on our boat." Like I keep saying, the Sea Shepherd PR machine is just better than the Japanese one, because it milks our emotive responses.

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.


#18 vincentkneefel

vincentkneefel

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 170 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Vancouver

Posted 16 January 2008 - 12:56 PM

I agree: but what if Japan buys enough votes (from developing nations) to ban the whaling moratorium and start commercial whaling again? Should Sea Shepherd continue their actions against something that is considered 'legal'? This almost happened at the last IWC voting, and is bound to happen if other countries do not make more effort to counter lobby.

This is also an interesting quote:

However, Dr Gambell said the moratorium effectively left whaling unregulated, with Japan licensing its own whalers to catch 440 minke whales a year in Antarctic waters for "scientific" purposes. He said it would be better to allow whaling under agreed limits within countries' exclusive economic zones.


In the end it all comes down to the sophistication of the human race: we claim to acknowledge the long-term damage wreaked by 20th century whaling, but history and current events show we are not learning from our mistakes...

"I had rather be an oyster than a man, the most stupid and senseless of animals."
-George Berkeley


Edited by vincentkneefel, 16 January 2008 - 01:22 PM.

Vincent Kneefel - Website
Seacam for Canon 1ds Mark II, 15mm FE, 17-40mm, 100mm Macro

#19 pakman

pakman

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1099 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hong Kong via Seattle...

Posted 16 January 2008 - 07:55 PM

Sea Shepherd folks tossing bottles of acid at the Japanese whaling ship...

Posted Image
Posted Image

Canon 40D, S&S MDX-40D housing, Inon Z-240's
Sony HC7 & Gates Housing
 


#20 Drew

Drew

    The Controller

  • Video Expert
  • 10642 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:GPS is not reliable in South East Asian seas

Posted 16 January 2008 - 09:36 PM

Butyric acid was thrown last year as well. I cut off my donations to Sea Shepherd because of that. It's one thing to block the ship but to knowingly lob acid (Butyric acid isn't toxic but can lead to permanent damage on sensitive areas like eyes etc). I think these guys ought to be charged for this. It's absolute BS that Sea Shepherd gets carte blanche in tactics for trying to stop the whaling. It's truly a sad day when we no longer adhere to principles we claim to have to justify a means to an end.

Drew
Moderator
"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

"I was born not knowing, and have only had a little time to change that here and there.