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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Japan Takes Hostages

The Japanese whaling fleet has taken hostages in its bid to continue the extermination of creatures that, as of yet, have not invaded the Japanese mainland. Obviously, the Japanese believe in the Bush doctrine of preemptive war. The Japanese whaling fleet took two activists from the anti-whaling ship, Steve Irwin, hostage and demanded that the Steve Irwin stay 10 nautical miles away from whaling fleet in order for the hostages to be returned:

"We are happy to hand the two men back in exchange for a couple of agreements -- that they remain 10 nautical miles away from the vessel," Glenn Inwood, spokesman for Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research, told Australian media.

Hideki Moronuki, of the Fisheries Agency of Japan, told Australian media that as soon as the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society accepted the conditions regarding the safety of the Japanese vessel "they will release the two illegal intruders."

But Paul Watson, captain of the militant anti-whaling group's ship, rejected the condition. "When you are holding hostages and you make demands, that is the definition of terrorism," Watson said from his ship, the Steve Irwin.

The Institute of Cetacean Research has in turn called the anti-whaling activists "terrorist," for illegally boarding a ship on the high seas.

Australian Benjamin Potts and Briton Giles Lane boarded the Japanese whaling ship Yushin Maru No. 2 late on Tuesday. Sea Shepherd said they were delivering a letter advising the crew they were "illegally killing whales."

Japanese fishing authorities said the pair boarded the whaler after making attempts to entangle the screw of the vessel using ropes and throwing bottles of acid onto the decks. Sea Shepherd said the pair only threw stink bombs of rancid butter.

Australia's Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Australian diplomats in Tokyo received guarantees from Japan's government that the two men would be released immediately after accusations by Watson that they were "roughed up" by the Japanese crew.




  • This is a bunch of spin. Throwing around words like hostages and terrorism to try to save whales? Nothing noble about it.

    Environmentalists who tie themselves up to trees I can sympathize with, boarding boats and claiming they are hostages? Too far.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 2:52 am  

  • Think of it this way... If an unauthorized person gets on your vessel or property, isn't that equivalent to trespassing? And in the high seas, sailors are taught to defend themselves from trespassers... especially pirates.

    By Blogger Jomni, At 11:55 am  

  • When you board someone's ship, that isn't kidnapping.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 1:38 pm  

  • I might be wrong, but i was listening to the CNN news on this story, and Kyung Lah, the CNN reporter, at one point, called the Japanese ship a "Jap ship".....of course, she meant to say Japanese, I am sure, but what came out in her rush to finish her sentence, was "Jap ship".....I wonder if she is aware of what she said?

    Did anyone else hear that? No biggie, but a definite faux pas, neh?

    By Blogger dan, At 1:42 pm  

  • Why did these people WANT to board the ship??? Because they wanted to deliver a letter and no one was answering via wireless communication! Maybe they didn`t want the letter?? Ya Think??!! Try to board my ship without permission and I`ll shoot first and ask questions later!! P.S. I am against whaling but not totally insane!!!!!!!!!!!!

    By Anonymous Swine, At 7:43 pm  

  • Like any protester, they have the right to hang around and harass the ship or make noise and scare off the whales, but they don't have the right to pull up and board someone's vessel. If you're just delivering a letter, you don't need two people to do it; my postman delivers many messages all by himself. Multiple people boarding a ship raises a red flag - they could be intent on wrecking equipment, as has happened before.

    The Japanese tied the protesters to a rail, probably because there are no brigs on civilian ships, and the average sailor doesn't have handcuffs.

    Be careful what you wish for - the next time a boat pulls up, dumps off people onto a ship, then pulls away, perhaps the Japanese will just throw them off their boat into the freezing Antarctic waters, just to avoid being called 'kidnappers'.

    Australia's ocean control extends 200 miles to the edge of the continental shelf - they do not own Antarctica, nor do they control its waters.

    Incidently, the "Steve Irwin" was recently re-named last month, probably to evade its original name "Robert Hunter", which was involved in throwing acid bottles and other junk on decks, as well as a couple of "not-my-fault collisions" just last year. After the collision, the captain (although not claiming it was intentional) said: "When we ram a whaling ship, we are damned proud to have done so... We will never rest until we end the obscene career of this floating vessel from hell..." (speaking about the Nisshin Maru). News flash - intentionally ramming ships is piracy and terrorism - it makes sense that they fly a pirate flag from their bow. By Australian and New Zealand law, ships that do not fly a country flag are considered pirate ships and are confiscable, but the Japanese are the pirated - lol

    Check out the video of this ship's actions before it got a paint job and became the "Steve Irwin" on Dec. 5, 2007 here:


    New Zealand's own maritime laws in action with this case (rules 5-17):

    I'm not a fan of whaling, but I also do not condone vigilantes or piracy. There's a better way to do things, guys - don't become thugs in the quest to be the "good guys".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 8:36 pm  

  • Hmm... the Google Earth Community page link didn't take. Here it is again.

    Otherwise, you can find it by searching:

    Sea Shepherd "Robert Hunter" Rams Whalers at Sea

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 8:41 pm  

  • Well, this has been a commented upon post. Here's my 2 cents in response.

    1) There is no moral reason for the Japanese (or anyone else) to be hunting whales. As posted before on this blog, much of the whale meat ends up as pet food.
    2) Whales are a vital piece of the marine ecosystem. Saving them ultimately means a better standard of living for all of us.
    3) "Saving the whales" was, perhaps, the only true victory of the environmental movement and it is in danger of becoming a defeat. If we can't save the whales, everything else is fucked.
    4) International negotiation has failed, despite many pictures of dead whales.
    5) Unless action is taken now, say goodbye to whales.
    6) The law is not much use here. That the Japanese are "allowed" to hunt whales under international law, proves that the law is ethically wrong.
    7) When a law is wrong, it needs to be resisted; i.e. civil disobdience. This is the hallmark of social change, without it Apartheid would have never ended, and, trust me, that was a violent, ugly, and bloody campaign of civil disobedience. Apartheid didn't end because people in New York went to anti-Apartheid concerts and wringed their hands and said how bad it all was and how evil the boers were; it ended because teenagers made the townships ungovernable and many of them took a bullet for their efforts.
    8) By all accounts, the Japanese are wrong to be whaling and, therefore, must be resisted. You may not like the Sea Shepard's tactics (or Greenpeace's, for that matter), but, without them, the Japanese would hunt whales to extinction. All the more power to these ships, and if that takes some spin to get the issue noticed, so be it.
    9) You have to admire the guts of these guys.

    Thanks for all your viewpoints.

    By Blogger Tristen, At 8:58 pm  

  • PS. Dan, with CNN, god only knows.

    By Blogger Tristen, At 8:59 pm  

  • Well put Tristen, you have it right!

    By Blogger Ross, At 12:00 am  

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