Monday, November 28, 2011

Sea Shepherd again appeals for NZ help

From Stuff.NZ: Sea Shepherd again appeals for NZ help
Radical eco-movement Sea Shepherd has appealed again for New Zealand to send a navy ship into the Southern Ocean as they mount what they call their most dangerous campaign yet against Japan's whaling fleet.

Sea Shepherd head Paul Watson said their "Operation Divine Wind" - or kamikaze - would try to sink the Japanese whaling fleet politically.

He said it had already destroyed the economics of the whaling.

Sea Shepherd would have three boats in its fleet: the Bob Barker, Brigitte Bardot and Steve Irwin.

Watson said the Sea Shepherd would be in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary without prospect of help.

"We have repeatedly requested cooperation from Greenpeace. They refuse to acknowledge us," he said.

"We have asked for New Zealand and Australia to send ships down to at least observe the situation and to be on hand in the event of a tragedy.

"After all, many of our crew members are Australians and New Zealanders."

Watson said it was irritating that governments obstructed and that Greenpeace publicly condemned them.

In February last year Japanese whalers clashed with the Sea Shepherd, resulting in the sinking of the Ady Gil. Its skipper, New Zealander Pete Bethune, also boarded a Japanese whaler and was arrested. Taken to Japan he was eventually given a suspended two-year jail term and deported to New Zealand.

Watson said Bethune would not be part of Divine Wind and he denounced the New Zealander.

"[He] provided false information and cooperated with the Japanese prosecution to enable the Japanese to build a case against me," he said.

"Bethune told the Japanese that I ordered him to board the Shonan Maru No. 2 when the footage captured by cameras clearly illustrated that I advised him not to board the Japanese vessel.

Watson said Bethune was trying to sue Sea Shepherd for the loss of the Ady Gil.

"The New Zealand investigation found Bethune 50 per cent negligent for the loss of the Ady Gil, the Japanese whalers were found responsible for the other half.

"Instead of suing the Japanese, Bethune decided to sue Sea shepherd for a half a million dollars."

Watson said the Japanese Government had put US$30 million [NZ$40 million] into stopping Sea Shepherd.

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