From our southern waters:
A JAPANESE military ship has joined its whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean, increasing tension between whalers and activists after collisions last week.
The 140m-long Shirase icebreaker, operated by the navy and described by activists as “intimidating”, arrived near the Nisshin Maru whaling ship and Korean-flagged fuel tanker Sun Laurel in Australia’s Antarctic territory early yesterday morning, Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson said.
Let me preface what I am about to write by stating:
- I don’t believe anything the people associated with the Sea Shepherd (SS) say;
- I don’t necessarily have a problem with whaling as long as it can be conducted in a sustainable manner; and
- Nations that engage in whaling must respect the territorial claims made by other nations when conducting harvest operations.
Having said all that the SS are serving a public good. Like a militia unit, the SS are harassing a foreign power (Japan), which has complete disregard to our territorial claims to Antarctica. It is an insult enough that Japan is even conducting economic activities in our Antarctic waters (they claim it is for scientific purposes) without our permission and without paying the requisite license fees to the Commonwealth (if whaling was legal), even worse is that whaling is an activity that Australians generally find offensive. It is like Japan is rubbing our noses in it. So as far as I am concerned, the SS can employ the full spectrum of non-lethal militia tactics against the Japanese to discourage them from whaling in our waters.
Japan may not recognise Australia’s claims over Antarctica, but our territorial claims are more credible than Japan’s claims that their whaling operations are for scientific purposes.
Yes, they are pirate-like:
A court in the US has labelled conservationist group Sea Shepherd “pirates”.
Judge Alex Kozinski said the group’s “aggressive and high-profile attacks” on Japan’s whaling fleet endangered lives, ordering them to stop.
He added that the illegality of whaling in Australian waters did not excuse Sea Shepherd’s activities.
“It is for Australia, not Sea Shepherd, to police Australia’s court orders.”
Sea Shepherd argues that the US court has no jurisdiction over foreign-flagged vessels sailing in Australian waters with an international crew.
Don’t you think it is time the Australian government maned-up and did something about Japan willfully ignoring Australia’s territorial waters? For me the issue is not about whaling, but the integrity of Australia’s territorial interests. If Japan can get away with conducting whaling, or whatever other activity it might be, in Australia’s waters why wouldn’t some other nation at some point in the future also take advantage of our slack attitude to our own claims to certain territories? Yes, the SS are a bunch of you know what (Sir Francis Drake come to mind?), but the issue is not about the SS. Japan is conducting
scientific economic activities in our waters without our say and the Commonwealth is not doing anything about it.