Esperanza drives whalers out of the Southern Ocean sanctuary

Posted by jossc — 14 January 2008 at 4:16pm - Comments

Greenpeace campaigner Sakyo Noda contacts the Japanese whaling fleet

Greenpeace campaigner Sakyo Noda contacts the Japanese whaling fleet

Good news from Esperanza, our ice-class vessel on patrol in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Yesterday the Espy had a face to face encounter with the Japanese whaling fleet's factory vessel, the Nisshin Maru, which was confronted close to the ice edge. As soon as they realised that we were in the area, the whalers put on speed and tried to get away.

After a high speed chase over hundreds of miles through fog and increasingly rough seas (see video clip below), the Esperanza this morning pursued the whalers north of the over the 60 degrees latitude mark - out of the Southern Ocean hunting grounds. The catcher vessel Yushin Maru also followed suit.

Although Esperanza's arrival on the scene definitely curtailed the whalers' activities, our crew's best guess is that the Japanese fleet left the sanctuary in order to rendezvous with its supply vessel, the Panamanian-registered tanker Oriental Bluebird, to re-fuel and off-load the whale meat that has already been processed aboard the Nisshin-Maru.

In a radio communication with the Japanese whaling fleet, expedition leader Karli Thomas told the whalers: "Our vessel and crew are here in the Southern Ocean to condemn your hunt, which includes endangered species, and to insist that you return to port immediately.

"We represent millions of people around the world who want to see an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

"We join with the majority of people in Japan who do not support whaling on the high seas. Your so-called scientific whaling is a hoax. It has been dismissed as useless by the International Whaling Commission."

The most infuriating thing about all this is that there is a very weak market for whale meat in Japan. Polls consistently indicate that over 60 per cent of the Japanese public oppose whaling, and in recent years the whalers have been unable to sell a large proportion of their catch, resulting in the growing stockpile shown in the graph below.

Japan's growing whale meat stockpile

So why does Japan continue to whale? Japan's research whaling benefits only a very few Japanese bureaucrats, and has cost Japanese taxpayers billions of yen in subsidies. It produces research nobody needs, and whale meat very few want. It deserves to be exposed in Japanese society as a scandalous waste of money.

According to Junichi Sato, whales project leader for Greenpeace Japan: "The Japanese people clearly do not support the whaling that is being carried out in their name, and with their tax money. It is time for Prime Minister Fukuda to put an end to Japan's whaling scandal, and to recall the fleet home to Japan."

Take Action: Stop the new whaling ship

If Japan succeeds in plans to build a new whaling factory ship, whaling could continue for decades. Tell the Japanese Prime Minister that building the new factory ship is a bad idea.

I've been following the whaling fleet saga from both the Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd perspectives and the lack of cooperation regarding sharing information on the Japanese fleets position perplexes me. Is the Greenpeace refusal to provide coordinates to the Sea Shepherd boat firmly grounded in a justifiable difference in direct action philosophy or just down to a long standing personality clash that has developed a life of it's own?
As things stand at the moment the world is a bit short of people willing to take direct action, so I (and many other Greenpeace members I'm sure) would like to hear a justification for thwarting the efforts of another protest group. What the Sea Shepherd crew decide to do on the day is not Greenpeace's responsibility, but ultimately the same aims are surely being realised.

After dropping off Benjamin Potts and Giles Lane, the Oceanic Viking headed off in a direction away from the Japanese fleet. The fleet then apparently changed course and has now been lost from Sea Shepherd. Greenpeace tagging along with the Nishin Maru has reported that the catcher boats have met back up with the main fleet.

Although Sea Shepherd has been relaying the position of the catcher boats to the Greenpeace ship Esperanza for the last three days, Greenpeace refuses reciprocate and refuses to reveal the present location of the fleet.

“With “allies” like the Australian government and Greenpeace, it is becoming increasing difficult to keep the Japanese fleet from killing whales,” said Captain Paul Watson. “Australian Customs deliberately led us away from the fleet and Greenpeace is guarding the coordinates like the crown jewels to prevent us re-locating the fleet.”
http://www.seashepherd.org/news/media_080118_2.html

if the above statement is not true then the action of greenpeace is disgracefull,i hope it's untrue.

I am a long-time Greenpeace supporter.
I just read that the Esperanza has now broken off the pursuit and turned to head back to New Zealand, leaving the whalers to get back to their killing.
Despite this, the Esperanza is still refusing to reveal the whalers' coordinates to Sea Shepherd in the full knowledge that whales will die due to Greenpeace's stubbornness and pride. I find this disgusting coming from an organisation which claims to care about saving whales!

Ok so you are a Greenpeace supporter - does that mean you support the principles by which we operate or not? There are lots of groups out there (Sea Shepherd among them, obviously) who take a different approach to us - so if you're happy for your campaigners to use violence to achieve their ends fine - but don't expect Greenpeace to have anything to do with them. This organisation was founded on the principle of non-violent direct action - unlike Sea Shepherd, who are quite happy (in fact, proud of the fact) that they use violent methods to achieve their ends - throwing acid, using a giant 'can-opener' to gouge holes, and ramming are among their repertoire. Greenpeace fundamentally and profoundly disagrees with this approach., and will not willingly be a party to it.

Exactly how were we helping the whalers when we stopped them whaling for 14 days while Esperanza was in close pursuit of their factory ship? And when the Espy had to leave the area to refuel the Australian government ship Oceanic Viking was in close attendance on the Nisshin Maru and whaling had not resumed. Sea Shepherd could easily have got the Nisshin Maru's coordinated from them.

if no-one is even buying the whales, whats the point of the japanese killing them!? There ISNT a point. The japanese whalers are thoughtless selfish little S**TS, who dont give a damn about the environment. They are killing the poor whales for no reason. i think the whalers are evil. WHY do they have to kill them, i dont know. what do you think?

Absolutely agree with you stw - it's almost impossible to fathom but seems to be down to Japanese governmental culture. The real culprit is the Fisheries Agency of Japan - they developed whaling in the aftermath of World War II when Japan had years of food shortages and it seems to have a talismanic importance for them, far beyond any economic value. And until Greenpeace launched an anti-whaling campaign on their home turf, few people inside Japan were actually questioning what they were doing. Now they are - polls show that over 65% of the Japanese public want whaling to end, which is making it increasingly difficult for FAJ to carry on their 'business as usual', which is why we feel it's so important to focus our efforts there.

I am pleased tto hear that 65% don't want the whaling to continue. The companies who do it [the whaling] will find it more tricky when people rebel against it.

Keep on going at the 35% who do want whaling, you have a good chance of stopping them!!!! [ i hope]

I love the whales, and have faith in you [greenpeace] to stop this terrible bussiness with them being kulled!!

Go Greenpeace!! keep up with the good work!!

I've been following the whaling fleet saga from both the Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd perspectives and the lack of cooperation regarding sharing information on the Japanese fleets position perplexes me. Is the Greenpeace refusal to provide coordinates to the Sea Shepherd boat firmly grounded in a justifiable difference in direct action philosophy or just down to a long standing personality clash that has developed a life of it's own? As things stand at the moment the world is a bit short of people willing to take direct action, so I (and many other Greenpeace members I'm sure) would like to hear a justification for thwarting the efforts of another protest group. What the Sea Shepherd crew decide to do on the day is not Greenpeace's responsibility, but ultimately the same aims are surely being realised.

After dropping off Benjamin Potts and Giles Lane, the Oceanic Viking headed off in a direction away from the Japanese fleet. The fleet then apparently changed course and has now been lost from Sea Shepherd. Greenpeace tagging along with the Nishin Maru has reported that the catcher boats have met back up with the main fleet. Although Sea Shepherd has been relaying the position of the catcher boats to the Greenpeace ship Esperanza for the last three days, Greenpeace refuses reciprocate and refuses to reveal the present location of the fleet. “With “allies” like the Australian government and Greenpeace, it is becoming increasing difficult to keep the Japanese fleet from killing whales,” said Captain Paul Watson. “Australian Customs deliberately led us away from the fleet and Greenpeace is guarding the coordinates like the crown jewels to prevent us re-locating the fleet.” http://www.seashepherd.org/news/media_080118_2.html if the above statement is not true then the action of greenpeace is disgracefull,i hope it's untrue.

I am a long-time Greenpeace supporter. I just read that the Esperanza has now broken off the pursuit and turned to head back to New Zealand, leaving the whalers to get back to their killing. Despite this, the Esperanza is still refusing to reveal the whalers' coordinates to Sea Shepherd in the full knowledge that whales will die due to Greenpeace's stubbornness and pride. I find this disgusting coming from an organisation which claims to care about saving whales!

Ok so you are a Greenpeace supporter - does that mean you support the principles by which we operate or not? There are lots of groups out there (Sea Shepherd among them, obviously) who take a different approach to us - so if you're happy for your campaigners to use violence to achieve their ends fine - but don't expect Greenpeace to have anything to do with them. This organisation was founded on the principle of non-violent direct action - unlike Sea Shepherd, who are quite happy (in fact, proud of the fact) that they use violent methods to achieve their ends - throwing acid, using a giant 'can-opener' to gouge holes, and ramming are among their repertoire. Greenpeace fundamentally and profoundly disagrees with this approach., and will not willingly be a party to it. Exactly how were we helping the whalers when we stopped them whaling for 14 days while Esperanza was in close pursuit of their factory ship? And when the Espy had to leave the area to refuel the Australian government ship Oceanic Viking was in close attendance on the Nisshin Maru and whaling had not resumed. Sea Shepherd could easily have got the Nisshin Maru's coordinated from them.

if no-one is even buying the whales, whats the point of the japanese killing them!? There ISNT a point. The japanese whalers are thoughtless selfish little S**TS, who dont give a damn about the environment. They are killing the poor whales for no reason. i think the whalers are evil. WHY do they have to kill them, i dont know. what do you think?

Absolutely agree with you stw - it's almost impossible to fathom but seems to be down to Japanese governmental culture. The real culprit is the Fisheries Agency of Japan - they developed whaling in the aftermath of World War II when Japan had years of food shortages and it seems to have a talismanic importance for them, far beyond any economic value. And until Greenpeace launched an anti-whaling campaign on their home turf, few people inside Japan were actually questioning what they were doing. Now they are - polls show that over 65% of the Japanese public want whaling to end, which is making it increasingly difficult for FAJ to carry on their 'business as usual', which is why we feel it's so important to focus our efforts there.

I am pleased tto hear that 65% don't want the whaling to continue. The companies who do it [the whaling] will find it more tricky when people rebel against it. Keep on going at the 35% who do want whaling, you have a good chance of stopping them!!!! [ i hope] I love the whales, and have faith in you [greenpeace] to stop this terrible bussiness with them being kulled!! Go Greenpeace!! keep up with the good work!!

About Joss

Bass player and backing vox in the four piece beat combo that is the UK Greenpeace Web Experience. In my 6 years here I've worked on almost every campaign and been fascinated by them all to varying degrees. Just now I'm working on Peace and Oceans - which means getting rid of our Trident nuclear weapons system and creating large marine reserves so that marine life can get some protection from overfishing.

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