News / Asia

Conservationists Pledge to Avoid Harming Japanese Whalers During Chase

The Nisshin Maru trying to outrun the Steve Irwin by going through heavy ice
The Nisshin Maru trying to outrun the Steve Irwin by going through heavy ice

A U.S.-based marine conservation group trying to scuttle Japan's annual whale hunt has pledged to avoid causing any harm to Japanese whalers as it chases them in waters off Antarctica.

Officials from several countries have urged the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Japanese whalers to avoid violence during the current whaling season. Sea Shepherd lost a speedboat last January in a collision with a Japanese vessel it was pursuing.

Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson told VOA Thursday that his organization is not doing anything violent and accused the Japanese whalers of trying to kill him and his fellow conservationists. He was speaking by telephone from the Steve Irwin, one of two Sea Shepherd vessels chasing Japan's Nisshin Maru  whaling ship in the Ross Sea.

Watson says the two vessels are trying to prevent the Nisshin Maru  from being refueled by a Panamanian-registered ship, the Sun Laurel. He says a third Sea Shepherd vessel, the Gojira, has left the Australian port of Hobart after being repaired and will join the chase in several days.

Japan kills hundreds of whales a year under an exemption to a 1986 global whaling ban, which permits hunting for research purposes. Anti-whaling groups say Japan uses research as a cover to obtain whale meat for domestic consumption.

The Steve Irwin caught up to the Nisshin Maru on Tuesday after a 26-day pursuit spanning more than 6,000 kilometers. Watson says the chase has prevented Japan's whalers from catching many whales by forcing the fleet to divert two harpoon boats to following Sea Shepherd's vessels.

Watson says the Japanese fleet has a quota of 935 minke whales, 50 fin whales and 50 humpback whales. He says the conservationists limited the fleet to catching just under half of its quota last season, and pledged to do "a lot better" this year.

An International Whaling Commission meeting last year ended without resolving a decades-long dispute between Tokyo and anti-whaling nations that criticize annual Japanese hunts as cruel and unnecessary.

U.S. diplomatic cables published by the WikiLeaks website earlier this month quoted Japanese officials as saying Sea Shepherd's harassment of the whalers was making it hard for Tokyo to compromise in IWC negotiations on the future of whaling.

Watson says more than two decades of diplomacy have failed to resolve the dispute and the only way to stop Japanese whalers is to widen their financial losses.

The WikiLeaks  documents said Japan urged the United States to take action against Sea Shepherd in November 2009. The documents quoted U.S. envoy to the IWC, Monica Medina, as telling Japanese officials that the Obama administration would consider revoking Sea Shepherd's tax-exempt status, based on what she called its "aggressive and harmful actions."

Watson says he has not heard of any plans by the U.S. government to revoke his group's tax status, a move he says would have no justification. But, he expressed concern about the comments attributed to Medina, saying it would be "illegal" for U.S. officials to penalize a U.S. organization at the request of a foreign government.


Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More