Japanese Whaling Fleet Dropped Fuel in Antarctic, Sea Shepherd Says

By Alex Johnston
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 18, 2013 Last Updated: February 28, 2013
Related articles: World » Asia Pacific
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The environmental activist Sea Shepherd's main ship the Steve Irwin is anchored at Sydney Harbour after arriving on Aug. 31, 2012. (Romeo Gacad/AFP/GettyImages)

The environmental activist Sea Shepherd's main ship the Steve Irwin is anchored at Sydney Harbour after arriving on Aug. 31, 2012. (Romeo Gacad/AFP/GettyImages)

In the Southern Ocean, anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd is again doing battle with the Japanese whaling fleet during its annual hunt. But while trailing the whaling fleet’s resupply ship, Sea Shepherd said it discovered the ship had left “fuel slicks” in Australian waters and claimed one of the whaling vessels had tried to crash into one of the activist group’s vessels.

Sea Shepherd crew said they smelled diesel fumes and saw an oil slick in the wake of the Sun Laurel, a South Korean owned refueling vessel for the Japanese whaling fleet, according to a statement on Sea Shepherd’s website. Later, they collected water samples and will now report the Sun Laurel to local authorities.

Sea Shepherd said it also intercepted a radio transmission between the captain and bosun of the Sun Laurel, saying that “if in case oil drops,” there would be a “big problem.” The captain added that the Sam Simon, one of Sea Shepherd’s vessels, might “catch” it.

James Brook, a crew member of the Sam Simon, said he interpreted the captain as saying that the Sam Simon “caught” the Sun Laurel dropping oil into the water. “He just told the bosun to make sure the oil cover is closed,” Brook said.

Sea Shepherd said the Sun Laurel’s oil dumping violates the international MARPOL convention that bans the dumping of oil or oily mixtures near the Antarctic area.

“We have been pursuing the Sun Laurel all night and they have been operating at very unsafe speeds, in extremely dangerous conditions with icebergs and poor visibility,” Capt. Luis Pinho of Australia onboard Sam Simon said in a statement.

Several times, Pinho and his crew said they could smell diesel from the vessel ahead. “We collected samples that we have onboard which exhale an odor of oil. We are very concerned, for an oil spill in these pristine Antarctic waters would have a catastrophic effect on the Antarctic wilderness,” Pinho’s statement reads.

In an earlier incident, Sea Shepherd said the Sam Simon placed itself between the Sun Laurel and the whaling ship, the Yushin Maru, in an attempt to disrupt them. However, the Yushin Maru made a “wide turn” toward the Sam Simon and could have potentially caused a crash.

“I judged that this collision would be of high risk to the hull integrity of the Sam Simon, with the reinforced bow of the Yushin Maru imminently coming into contact with our portside stern at high speed,” Sam Simon Capt. Luis Manho said. “While this was happening, the armed security ship, the Shonan Maru No. 2, was also very close to us and acting aggressively, coming within .08 nautical miles of our bow.”

In a separate incident, Japanese officials told Japanese news agency Jiji Press Friday that Sea Shepherd attempted to obstruct its whaling vessels in the Southern Ocean for the first time this year.

The Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research, which says its whaling program is for scientific purposes, said the obstruction took place late Friday when another Sea Shepherd ship, the Bob Barker, came within 55 meters of the Nisshin Maru mothership and the Bob Barker’s crew members tried to throw ropes on the propellers and helm.

On Saturday, Sea Shepherd claimed it was able to shut down all whaling operations that day.

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  • Ames

    Sea Shepherd are obviously in contempt of the Court Order to keep at least 500 yards away from the whaling vessels. Arrest warrants should be issued and SSCS’ tax exempt status be revoked.

    • sidewinder

      You missed the part where SSCS USA has to comply with that court order, not SSCS Australia. Perhaps check first before posting something incorrect . I don’t hear you mentioning how the ICR is in contempt of the Australian Federal Court order by being in the Whale Sanctuary taking whales. Missed that too? Wow you are on a roll…

    • Michael Snyder

      @ames, think u better read up on international law before u make that kind of silly remark.

  • David Powell

    Frankly I call it bogus without evidence. Also, as they talk about getting that close, remember they are under a court order not to. Were they smart they would stick to filming and use that film to rally people to campaign for Japan to change. Greenpeace figured out that worked better than “direct action” by the end of the 1970s. Heck get all the green car buyers to boycott Japanese cars, that would be more effective than a dozen ships, and wouldn’t risk crews.

    • Michael Kloor

      That “bearing witness” crap will never work! Corrupt, arrogant Japanese officials are involved so you would keep filming until you filmed the very last whale in existence being killed!

  • NerdBiker

    The court does not have jurisdiction over Sea Shepherd Australia, so the court order means nothing.

  • 46nd2

    Right because people of such high moral standing as to want to kill 1000 whales 50 of which are on the endangered species list, would never dump fuel in the sea …? The Japanese whalers are in an a Sanctuary so whatever befalls them, they deserve. Playing games in courts is costing thousands of whales: best way to deal with a loophole is a good kick in the arsehole. Direct action is the only way to deal with corporate criminals

    • sidewinder

      The Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the North Pacific (JARPNII) deserves a special mention here because it is the hunt that is not as well known. The North Pacific hunt consists of a much larger variety of endangered whales. They include:

      - Sei
      - Bryde’s
      - Sperm

      They are taking ENDANGERED whales.

      • Ames

        Then why isn’t Sea Shepherd up in the North Pacific rather than playing around in the South where non-endangered minkes are being taken?

        • PATREZI

          All in good time to get rid of one disgraceful industry in a country after another.

  • 123nic

    I wouldn’t doubt that the ICR had spilled oil near Antarctica. The ICR did after all blow up their own factory ship and refuse to move it away from the world’s largest penguin colony when there was reason to believe an oil spill was in danger of taking place back in 2007. The Japanese govt has shown blatant disregard for the future of Antarctica.

  • raxki

    Australia Should Impound that tanker for being there. if the Japanese fault of violating the injunction, .the japanese vessel are faster, how can SS stay away from the ships if the japanese tail them so close? either way go SS!!!

  • 46nd2

    Ah I get it, not a site worth visiting, no worries

  • bill

    impound the ship and fine heavily for they won’t do this again.

  • sidewinder

    Japan is an international disgrace, propping up a dead industry with Tsunami relief funds, meanwhile, tons of whale meat remain in the deep freeze – uneaten. What a joke they are…

  • Charles Wesley Bird

    The guy with the skull and crossbones painted below his bridge sounds a bit srtident to be credible.

  • Ames

    Sea Shepherd, headquartered in Washington State, USA in violation of a US Court Order prohibiting them from approaching within 500 yards of the whalers has continued their acts of eco-terrorism and piracy (US Court has now openly called them Pirates). Which now includes attempting to interfere and obstruct a ship-to-ship refueling operation. The utter disregard for the risk to the environment should be enough for anyone with half a brain to realize how little Sea Shepherd really care about the environment. This article is the usual Sea Shepherd propaganda nonsense of causing a problem then blaming the whalers for it. And the Sea Sheep lap it up without a second thought. The legal outcome in the US Court is now clear, SSDCS are pirates. Arrest warrants will be issued for SSCS members for contempt and SSCS will lose it’s NPO status. IRS will be jumping on their books. Time for the sane whale-lovers to start supporting a real conservation group rather than a bunch of eco-terrorists.


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