**NEWS UPDATE** @seashepherd
Update from the High Seas from @CaptPaulWatson
The Steve Irwin has departed from Melbourne and Operation Zero Tolerance has officially begun.
That floating industrialized slaughterhouse called the Nisshin Maru is still in dry dock in Hiroshima but the Japanese Fishery Agency and the Institute for Cetacean Research are boasting that they will get their quota this year of over one thousand whales.
I really don’t think so, but hey, let them dream.
My dedicated officers and crews on our four ships intend to see that they don’t take a single whale.
The ships are ready. The crews are ready.
And I am ready, although I remain in an undisclosed location.
A spokesperson for the Japanese government told the media this week that he “hopes” that I will be arrested before the whaling fleet departs.
Well, good luck with that, and all I can say is “hoping” is the best they can do.
Japan has not stopped us in the courts. They have not stopped me. They have not stopped our ships from sailing and when they see our new ship the Sam Simon they will be most assuredly awestruck and shocked.
The Brigitte Bardot was escorted into Marina del Rey last week by none other than Baywatch superstar and fellow Canadian, Pamela Anderson on her jet ski. After repairs and provisions the crew of the Brigitte Bardot will head out to meet the other three Sea Shepherd vessels as we bring the campaign North towards Japan.
The Bob Barker will soon be departing from Sydney and the Sam Simon will soon be departing from an undisclosed location much closer to Japan than the other three ships.
All systems are go, and all ships and crews are on schedule.
It will be a most interesting year.
Melissa Seagal has been doing an incredible job as leader of the Cove Guardians in Taiji, Japan. Operation Infinite Patience has saved hundreds of dolphins despite the legal and physical obstacles. Sea Shepherd is committed to remaining in Taiji for as long as this horrifically cruel slaughter continues. We are the eyes of the world and the Japanese fishermen and the politicians are very much aware of this. We are also dedicated to maintaining a legal non-violent presence in Taiji, and this allows us to continue despite the threats, the dangers, and the constant exposure to one of the most cruel massacres of wildlife on the planet.
An interesting news story out of Eastern Canada today: The Canadian government finally cut through their own red tape and obtained a court order to seize the sack of doubleloons that I presented as ransom to them in 2008 to secure the release of Captain Alex Cornelissen and First Mate Peter Hammarstedt of the Farley Mowat.
Alex and Peter were arrested and charged with the heinous crime of witnessing the slaughter of a seal, thus violating the Seal Protection Act. Farley Mowat put up the bail money of $10,000 and I delivered the ransom in a large heavy sack filled with 5,000 Canadian two-dollar coins. Since the one dollar Canadian coin is a Loon, it stands to reason that the two dollar coin is a Double Loon and thus it was fitting way to secure their release with the currency of the great pirate age.
Both Alex and Peter were prevented from returning to Canada by Immigration Canada but the trial began without them, with the Judge citing that it was the responsibility of the defendants to attend the trial and that being barred from entry into the country was no excuse.
Thus, it was no surprise when both Alex and Peter were found guilty, having not been allowed to present a defense. The fines totaled $46,000 and the government imposed a fine on the Farley Mowat of $75,000.
I told the government that I was not interested in paying the fines. They responded by saying that if the fines were not paid, they would seize the Farley Mowat.
Now since it was our intention to retire the Farley Mowat, and the cost of retiring a vessel is about $250,000, it was in our financial interest to have the Canadian government take care of the retirement for us.
The government sold the Farley Mowat at auction for $5,000 after racking up a bill of over one million dollars for 24 hour security for two years plus berthing fees. The vessel was bought by a private party and taken to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia where the new owner neglected to pay berthing fees racking up a bill of some $50,000, causing the vessel to be arrested once again.
The Farley Mowat was truly our gift to the Canadian government that just keeps on giving.
So the government got a total of $15,000 from the bail and the sale of the ship. It cost them over a million dollars in losses. They failed to collect their fines and there was, of course, the cost of the trial including the cost of flying in sealers and putting them up at hotels and feeding them so they could provide evidence against the two men not allowed into the courtroom to defend themselves. Now they have another $50,000 in uncollected fees and more legal costs.
On the other hand, Sea Shepherd saved $240,000 by not having to retire the ship because our only cost was the $10,000 Double Loons.
All in all a very good deal from a financial point of view.
And most importantly the arrest and the seizure of the Farley Mowat in 2008 got a great deal of publicity in Europe. This contributed greatly to the passing of legislation in Europe banning seal products from Canada.
So in addition to saving Sea Shepherd a great deal of money, we also scored a great political and legal victory for the seals with the European ban on seal products.
It was a great trade-off for the old ship and a worthy sacrifice.
Apparently despite being given $30 million dollars last year from the Tsunami Relief Fund, the whalers are begging for more. These glorified welfare bums are once again claiming entitlement and that their right to slaughter whales is some sort of act of Japanese patriotism that is deserving of taking the food out of the mouths of the homeless victims of the earthquake, the tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear negligence.
Will the Japanese whalers obsession with hating Sea Shepherd deprive the victims of the tsunami of another $30 million dollars?
With governments there never seems to be enough money for acts of kindness, mercy and goodwill but there never seems to be a lack of money for war, destruction and hate.
The question is for how long and for how high a cost will Japan continue to subsidize their illegal and unethical slaughter of whales and dolphins. How much will they continue to spend in their attempts to destroy the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society? How much humiliation are they prepared to endure as Sea Shepherd continues to make them lose face every year by stifling their ability to kill whales and dolphins?
They must realize that after some forty years of intervening against the killers of marine life that Sea Shepherd is an organization with a great deal of patience and we have no problem with prolonged campaigns. Because we are not motivated by profit we cannot be hurt financially and because our clients are whales, dolphins and other marine species, we are not deterred by public opinion, governments or media.
And finally a big thank-you to all of you who have contributed to the fueling and outfitting of our ships for Operation Zero Tolerance. Every dollar, euro, yen, rand, real, pound, peso, etc helps to further this cause and our efforts to end the killing of the magnificent minds and beautiful sentient beings in the sea.
You make it possible for us to intervene and to make a difference.
Mahalo, merci, danke, gracias, and thank you.