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

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs