Ever since the documentary The Cove was released in 2009, all eyes fell on Japan and their questionable, cruel methods of slaughtering dolphins. Now whaling in Japan has heightened with aggression when video footage was released of two Japanese whaling ships launching attacks against Sam Shepherd’s vessel, the Bob Barker. For your convenience (you can see it with your own eyes) a video of the assault is located at the end of this article.
Captain of the Bob Barker, Peter Hammerstedt, wrote in an open letter to the Honorable Greg Hunt, details of the attack. “When the whalers throw heavy objects at my crew,” Hammerstedt writes, “I instruct them to not throw anything back – not even in self-defense.” The letter describes how two Japanese harpoon ships, pulled a steel cable, hundreds of meters long, right across the bow of the Bob Barker. The aggressive actions purpose was to disable the ship’s rudders and propellers. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society declared that the attack continued for six frightening hours. The Captain informed the Japanese whaling ships, by radio, of their illegal conduct. Clearly stating that there were nine Australian citizens aboard, as well as flying the Australian flag, and that the Australian government had been informed still did nothing to deter the Japanese bully ships from their attack.
Hammerstedt goes on to explain that, with broken promises and without any law enforcement in the area, “My ship is getting battered and my crew pummeled.” The letter also questioned how long the Australian government would allow such abuse of its citizens to continue “before it is made clear to Tokyo” that this behavior, against its citizens, will not be tolerated.
Throughout this heightened aggression, the country claims that all whaling in Japan is strictly for scientific purposes and therefore is legal under the International Whaling Commission’s ban. A plea that has many raising eyebrows in suspicion over this claim, due to the disturbing release of The Cove documentary. A murderous situation Japan had tried to cover up before they were embarrassingly caught, literally, red-handed.
Of course, as usual, the Japanese government is playing the victim (odd when its ships are the ones killing whales that are meant to be protected – but they are the victims). The loophole in the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium comes down to two words; scientific purposes. Hiding under the guise of science is what allows the Japanese whaling ships to continue the murder of these magnificent, glorious and endangered mammals.
On February 25, in Tokyo, The Fisheries Agency released a statement citing that the Bob Barker was trying to disrupt the activities of two of their research vessels. It included that the Japanese ships were fired at by 13 signal flares and hit with ropes about 26 times. Chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said the Bob Barker’s actions were “extremely dangerous and we simply cannot accept them.” Watching the video below shows not only the enormous size difference of the vessels in question, but prove that Japans whaling ships were the ones showing aggression and performing illegal moves. Japan pleaded to the Netherlands to take immediate, effective measures so incidents like this do not happen again in the future.
The bottom line here is that whaling in Japan will always induce heightened aggression with the Sea Shepherd fleet and the world. As long as whaling in Japan continues (under the façade of science) the tensions between the two visible enemies will continue. Now, watch the video and judge for yourself.
Opinion By Derik L. Bradshaw