February 16, 2009

Collision course


The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society dismiss Greenpeace as 'Avon ladies'. Their leader, Paul Watson, has rammed and sunk whaling ships, and this week has been continuing a deadly game of cat and mouse with the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean. In 2005 journalist Peter Heller was with him when he pursued the same ships.

It was three o'clock when I awoke on Christmas morning. What woke me was the sudden drop of the bow as it gashed into the trough and the impact of my right shoulder hitting the locker at the head of my bunk. The Farley Mowat shivered. Then the wave pitched the stern out of water and the prop howled, beating air.

The sea was a frenzy. No night's respite, no night at all, just the unabated gloom of a perpetual dawn. The waves were now more than 10 metres, and the wind tore off their tops and streamed their backs with ropy lines of foam. Snow blew by in the tortured fog and mixed with the plumes of exploding spray.

The Farley took the monsters under her stern, and the exposed prop shuddered for a moment like a thing in pain before the wave threw the bow wildly to the sky. It was now a full force 8 gale.

Paul Watson sat up in the high captain's chair in his Mustang suit and Sorrel boots, looking from his radar screen to the sea. He was focused and calm.

I stared at the throbbing green blips on the main radar screen. Was it possible? Had Watson found, in hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of Southern Ocean, his prey? I looked at Watson in his exposure suit and began to pull on my dry suit. Watson turned to Cornelissen. "Wake all hands," he said.

We were 354 kilometres north-north-east of Antarctica's Commonwealth Bay. The Farley laboured up the back of an 11-metre wave and plunged down the other side.

An intense quietness had come over the bridge. After many months of preparation and planning, Watson was sneaking up on two vessels in a vast empty sea in a near hurricane and the radio was silent. No one spoke. Allison came onto the bridge, as did Aultman and Ron with his camera.

At 3.50am, through the fog and spray, I saw a shadow that was not mist or wave. It was a ship. "There it is!" Hammarstedt cried. "That's definitely it!"

A terrible suggestion of a ship. We strained as if our eyes could concentrate and clarify the image. Then the fog did it for us, rending like ripped gauze, and there for a second was the giant stern, the slipway, the white block letters that read Nisshin Maru, Tokyo.

Trevor, with his engineer's telepathy, down in the engine room, must have known. The Farley Mowat was taking the waves at what for her was a dead run.

"We're doing 11 knots. They're doing six," Alex said.

"I have tweaked the engine." Trevor was in the doorway, ear protectors propped on his head, an elusive smile just slipping away.

Allison said: "The captain says we're severely limited with what we can do in this weather. Don't want anybody out there - hell!" She pointed out the forward windows. "Look at Gedden out there!"

Gedden was crouching, moving forward on the forecastle like a man in battle under fire. He had something black clutched against his right side, and when the bow plunged he grabbed the water cannon, or the anchor chain. He scrambled forward now on hands and knees. An explosion of spray covered him and he moved forward again. The next one knocked him over.

When he got to the bow rail, he whipped a karabiner from his harness and clipped it to the rail. Tethered in, holding the thing against him with his elbow, he went for the flag mast at the bow. He was going to hoist the Jolly Roger. In 60-knot gusts he got the flag clipped on somehow, hoisted it and cleated it off.

This was a psychological war as much as anything. The Japanese had said in their press when they left on November 7 from Shimonoseki harbour that they were afraid of an attack by Sea Shepherd. Fear would make them run. When they ran, they did not kill whales.

I didn't think fog happened in near-hurricane winds, but there it was, shrouding the Nisshin Maru after the first glimpse. The ship might have seen us, but probably it hadn't. It was maintaining its speed, just under seven knots. It was a sitting duck. It thought we were the Arctic Sunrise. Nobody bothered to step out on its bridge wing to look back and check.

I could only imagine what we would look like, appearing out of the fog, black and battered, the gale-stiffened Jolly Roger flying, with an avowed mission to cripple or destroy.

Alex kept one eye on the radar now and one eye on the sea ahead. He had the ship targeted on the screen, in a small white box, which gave him a continual readout of its speed, direction, range and time to contact.

"Seventeen minutes," he said. "Twelve knots."

The fog ripped away and just ahead was the slipway ramp cut into the stern where they winched up the dead whales, and the tall white superstructure of the cranes. A banner over the slipway read, "Greenpeace Misleads You". Fighting fire with fire.

Running down the length of the hull, visible when it corkscrewed on a swell, was the large block lettered word "research". As the ship rode over the bigger waves, its prop came out of the water. We were two kilometres away.

"I think the best tactic here, Alex, is the prop foulers. Bring it as close to the bow as possible. Low profile as possible. We don't want them to see what we're doing," Watson said.

Alex was leaning forward into the window in front of him like a cat; his eyes didn't move off the stern. "Do we want to ram them? Punch a few holes in their ship?"

I thought it was a rhetorical question.

"No, we'd sustain a lot of damage. Prop fouler's the best thing right now," Watson said.

He seemed to be protecting his crew. No sane person wanted a collision in these seas. Watson turned to Trevor. "Tell them to get the prop foulers ready on the stern. Tell them to stay down, stay hidden. Don't deploy them until I blow the horn."

Trevor nodded, exited. Allison tugged at Watson's elbow. "Do you want to get the helmets and vests? This is where they're going to shoot."

Helmets and body armour. Must be some of the items behind the locked door labelled "Powder Room".

"Sink right to the bottom with that stuff," Alex said. "I'll take a few bullets."

"Yes, but the bridge is where they're going to shoot."

"They're not going to shoot us."

"I can't believe they're going so slow," Watson said. We were coming right up on their stern, a kilometre now and closing. "How far is the Esperanza behind us?" The proximity of a potential rescue ship in these seas might determine Watson's level of aggression, although I didn't think a rescue boat could even spot swimmers in the violent waves.

The Nisshin was very close, but not close enough. It was like sneaking up on a browsing deer, holding your breath, praying a twig wouldn't snap. Maybe somebody on the Nisshin finally saw us. The pace with which we closed the gap slowed a little.

"The factory ship is increasing speed to eight knots now!" Alex said.

It was 4.48am. Alex began ticking off the Nisshin's speed. "Increasing speed again, nine knots now. Nine point four. One knot more."

Watson watched his prey. He sat up in the captain's chair, one hand, out of habit, on the knob of the lever that controlled our speed. He worked his jaw to the side. Not excited, not angry, just focused. He looked like a polar bear, with the same pitiless detachment, weighing distances, speed, odds. It was easy to see that this was not his first action.

He said: "Tell Trevor to deploy at the last moment. We don't want them to see us put it out."

"Nine point five," Alex said.

Watson didn't take his eyes off the ship, "I don't think they can go much faster in this weather. That's where we have the advantage. Some horses are good in mud and some aren't. This is a North Atlantic trawler - that's where our advantage is."

"Our speed is 11," Alex said. "Their speed is 9½."

We were off to its starboard, coming up on its stern. It was monstrous. Even so, the bigger waves were throwing its prop out of water. Some of them were over 12 metres. Trevor shoved open the bridge wing door and entered. He had on his Mustang suit now, and he was wet.

"The horn is on. They have the trail line ready."

The trail line was a two-centimetre thick longline on a spool on the stern. There was a kilometre of the stuff. Watson would try to push across the Nisshin's bow while Trevor and his team unleashed the floating line. The bigger ship would have no choice but to plow over it. The line would work its way down the hull and, Watson hoped, get sucked up in the Nisshin's prop.

But I didn't see how that would not be dangerous to the Japanese crew in this kind of storm. If the prop did jam, the Nisshin would have no headway and would broach sideways to the seas and wallow. They'd have to launch life boats in seas like this, in water that was at or below freezing.

Watson said again: "As soon as I hit the horn, then deploy it. We have to get far enough ahead so we don't hit them, but close enough so we're effective."

"Nine point six."

"Keep pulling alongside."

"I'll let you be the judge how close to get."

"We'll lose some speed as we cross."

"I hope we can disable those bastards. They're not going to let us have a second chance. Where are the passports?" Watson said.

"In the safe," Kalifi responded.

"The bag with the passports is not in there. Get someone to find them."

Kalifi went out. Watson was making preparations to abandon ship if necessary.

Alex, his voice rising, called out, "We're getting pretty close here. Point four miles."

"I'll hit the horn when I want Trevor to deploy."

"I found the passports."

"Just put it by the safe so it's ready to go."

"Greenpeace is speeding up too," Alex said. They had to be glued to their radar, watching the signal blips of the two ships starting to overlap.

"We could ram her up the slipstream if you want," Alex said. "What do you say, Paul?"

"Yes, the swells are good," piped up Hammarstedt, who was again at the main radar; it was the first thing he'd said in a while. He meant that we had waves following us of great size, so it would be easy to come down off the top of one and crack down with force into the opening of their slipway.

"No, we're going to do this," Watson said.

Watson had the benefit of three decades of similar actions. He was evidently making his bearlike calculations.

"Is he picking up speed at all?" he asked.

"Nine point nine knots."

"He can't go any faster. He's going to cut the swell as soon as we go by him, too." Meaning Watson thought he would turn.

"Toward us?" Alex asked.

"Yes. Don't underestimate the guy gunning it as we come across." Watson was thinking they might try to ram us. "I think just past the 'research' thing is the best time. How far in front of the research sign do you want to start cutting in? You feel safe enough?"

"We've got a knot," Alex said.

The Farley, to everyone's astonishment, overtook the Nisshin's stern and began to move up alongside. It was about 91 metres to port. Black hull, white superstructure, freshly painted, four-storeys high, with three massive crane gantries whose tops must have been 23 metres off the water. RESEARCH. Clean, innocent block letters.

We were edging up along the word. When the bridge reached the H, Alex would swing in toward the ship. He would count on our extra speed to angle us in front of the bow and get us clear across it before a collision.

"There's nobody there, nobody even looking at us," Watson said. "I think we caught them unawares! There's nobody looking at us."

Just then it was as if the Japanese woke up and the Nisshin Maru jumped in surprise. Someone put the hammer down and it began to pull away.

"He's turning away," Alex said.

Watson, curt: "Turn with him, is he speeding up?"

"Turning away - not very smart, they're going to take the waves on the beam - Yes, they're getting away Ten point seven - matching speed - 11.3 - they're faster, 11.5, 11.7."

"Go right on their ass, then."

As Watson ordered it and Alex began the turn to follow, a wave hit the Farley on her port quarter and she slammed over. The waves weren't getting any smaller. We were falling back along Nisshin's endless aft deck. And we were now taking the seas, like the Nisshin, on our port stern. It was not a good angle to the storm.

"Go for it if you can. Straight into the slipway."

"Oh, f…, yeah," Alex said. "I hope they stop, got a surprise for them. They are a little faster, but not much: 11.5."

It was too late. Trevor had tweaked the engines, and the Farley was straining with all she had: 11, 11.6, 12 knots. But the Nisshin was too powerful. She came up to speed and fled at 16 knots.

And then it was as if the Nisshin's skipper snapped. Captain D. Toyama had been whaling down here for decades. He had been harassed for days by Greenpeace; their Zodiacs swarmed his killer boats, his harpooneers had shot whales right over their heads. And here, out of the fog, was a ship willing to disable his own. He'd had enough. The Nisshin was about a kilometre away when it turned to starboard, angling across our bow and slowing down. Toyama seemed to be saying, "OK, you want to mess with me? Come ahead."

Alex matched the turn, all but 30 degrees of it, so as not to fall behind the Nisshin's stern, and set a collision course. He too was completely calm. Watson, out of his chair now, stood with a hand on the lever that controlled our speed.

Now we caught the crossing seas on our starboard and the Farley slammed over to port in a 40-degree roll that sent Kristian crashing across the bridge. The Farley righted and slammed to the other side. Alex looked at the radar. He turned to Kalifi and said, "Tell the crew collision in two minutes."

Most of the crew were gathered in the mess in their exposure suits, aft of amidships, below the deck, and a long companionway away from the main hatch exit. One of the officers - it wasn't clear who - had ordered them there. Not a good place to be. If the Farley broke apart, they wouldn't have a chance of getting out.

The Nisshin Maru was on our port side, and the two ships approached each other at an acute angle. By the law of the sea, in a collision situation, we had the right of way. The Nisshin's bow lunged off an 11-metre wave, airborne, and crashed down like a giant axe. The hole it tore out of the sea vaporised and was driven downwind. The gap between us closed.

Now we could hear the blare of their horn through the tearing wind. Repeated blasts, short and long, enraged.

"Collision one minute."

I tugged on the waterproof zipper of my dry suit and had one thought: you're going to be wet and cold in about 20 seconds. The hammering bow loomed, 61 metres away, aimed at our belly.

Alex glanced at the radar, at the juggernaut, held his course. He was focused, intent. A deadly game of Antarctic chicken.

Alex blew the horn, which was the order to unleash the prop fouler. A squad on the stern stood, braced themselves, and whipped several hundred metres of the mooring line off a big spool, enough to tangle any propeller.

And then the Nisshin blinked. Whoever was at the helm threw it over to port. For an agonising second the two ships ran parallel, and then they were pulling away. They quickly resumed full speed and fled back into the fog.

As they ran, Watson pulled down the mike on maritime channel 16, and barked, "Nisshin Maru, Nisshin Maru, this is the Farley Mowat. You are in violation of an international whale sanctuary. We advise you to get out … Time to go now, you murdering scumbags. Now move it! And run like the cowards you are."

I looked at my watch: 5.42 a.m.

Watson handed the mic to Casson, who spoke rudimentary Japanese. "Nisshin Mart," he said. "Nisshin Mart, you are murderers. You are dishonourable."

Alex lifted his watery blue eyes from the radar and smiled. The first one I'd seen in days. "They actually increased speed when you said that."

"Go back to Tokyo," Casson said. "Good luck."

From The Whale Warriors: On Board The Sea Shepherd's Pirate Ship In The Battle To Save The World's Largest Mammals

Ten Reasons that Operation Musashi by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society against the Japanese whalers Has Been a Success!


1.- The Japanese whaling fleet was located very quickly in the campaign, the earliest ever that the fleet has been intercepted. The fleet was also relocated very quickly on the 2nd Leg of the campaign.

2.-The Steve Irwin pursued the Japanese whaling fleet for over 2000 miles between December 18th and January 7th disrupting their whaling operations for 19 days. The Steve Irwin returned and relocated the whaling fleet shutting down operations of the fleet for an additional 8 days. We can claim 27 days that we physically prevented the whalers from killing whales. This means many less whales killed and more whaling profits lost. The whaling fleet will not meet its quota for the fourth year in a row.

3. The Yushin Maru No.2 suffered ice damage to its propeller while being pursued by the Steve Irwin. This took the harpoon vessel out of operation between December 20th and February 5th, for a total of 46 days. This will also reduce the number of whales killed and will cause a further loss of illicit profits for the whaling industry.

4. The Yushin Maru No.2 was refused permission to do repairs by Indonesia, a significant embarrassment to Japan.

5. Australia refused to agree to Japan's request that the Steve Irwin be denied permission to refuel in an Australia port. This was extremely embarrassing for Japan to be denied this request and demonstrated an error in diplomatic judgment. Nations should never make public demands unless they know they will be met.

6. The Japanese whaling industry spent a small fortune rigging their ships with anti-boarding devices, covering their ships with netting and installing long range acoustical weapons. In addition they spent money on fuel while under pursuit and repairs to the Yushin Maru No.2. They also spent a great deal of money to charter the Taiyo Maru No.38 to transport a special security force. This ship had to deliver three injured crewmembers to Fiji (they were injured during normal whaling operations, not by any of Sea Shepherd's actions), and because of this diversion the Steve Irwin was able to relocate the fleet and intervene before the security force could return.

7. Sea Shepherd crewmembers engaged the entire Japanese fleet in a dramatic two day confrontation that demonstrated the determination and the resolve of the entire crew to intervene against illegal Japanese whaling operations. The reaction to this year's campaign by the Japanese whalers was a revelation of their frustration and desperation by physically and violently attacking the Sea Shepherd crew.

8. The campaign received wide international media coverage, once again exposing Japan's continued illegal whaling activities. The campaign received coverage in Japan and has contributed to the growing controversy in Japan over Southern Ocean whaling.

9. Over a thousand hours of video was recorded for the 2nd Season of Whale Wars by Animal Planet. This program has angered the Japanese whaling industry more than anything else we have done. With Whale Wars we are reaching millions of people around the world to expose illegal Japanese activities. The first season of Whale Wars was a hit and the 2nd season will be even bigger.

10. Not a single Japanese whaler was injured and the crew of the Sea Shepherd suffered only very minor injuries. Our record of never injuring our opposition remains unblemished. We made the decision to withdraw in the face of escalating violence by the whalers because we could not control the situation with one ship against four vessels, three of which had greater speed and maneuverability.

Sea Shepherd returns from the WHALE WARS


Sea Shepherd ship is heading back to port.
God Bless Paul Watson and the crew of the M/V Steve Irwin for their brave and unrelenting efforts at stopping the whale murderers in the Southern Antarctic whale sanctuary.
Sea Shepherd will be back to intervene in illegal whaling activities again next year.
The tactics of the Japanese whaling operation have turned increasingly violent against the crew of the Steve Irwin, and it has become too dangerous and risky for SSCS to continue given the present situation. A japanese vessel was setting out to confiscate the video coverage taken by SSCS, and that can not be allowed to happen. SSCS have the documentary evidence showing what happened down there these past couple months. The crew need to get back to port safely with the video footage in hand.

The whales who have been spared this season are alive thanks to Sea Shepherd. No thanks to the Aussie government and no thanks to the IWC who have once again stood by and done nothing to stop this illegal and unnecessary slaughter of these majestic and highly intelligent and sentient beings, all under the guise of scientific "research". Shame on the whalers!

God Bless the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society!!

Thank you all for your continuing support and donations to raise much needed funds for a second ship. :)

As a sign of courtesy and respect to the amazing Captain and his crew, Greg Coventry suggests that we should all set our profile picture to be the Operation Musashi Jolly Roger logo. Fly the flag!!!
If you don't already have it, right click on my profile pic and save it, then you can use it.

Please remember that there are ways we can all continue to help!

  •  Host a fund-raising event in your home town for SSCS.
  •  Have an 'Outreach' table at community events, festivals, etc., distribute SSCS literature and inform people about the plight of our oceans and the great efforts of SSCS.
  •  Hold a video house party and watch Whale Wars! Show your friends so they can see what it's all about. The Whale Wars DVD is available to buy from the Discovery Store.
  •  Wear your SSCS garb- shirts, hats, touques - to show support!


The Sea Shepherd ship the Steve Irwin and her crew have withdrawn from the Japanese whaling fleet to begin preparations to return with a faster and longer range ship.

"I have said always said that we would do everything we can short of hurting people to end illegal whaling in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary." Said Captain Paul Watson. "We have done everything we could with the resources available to us this year. We have shut down their illegal operations for over a month in total. We have cost them money and we have saved the lives of a good many whales. And although we are willing to take the risks required, even to our own lives, I am not prepared to do to the Japanese whalers what they do to the whales and the escalating violence by the whalers will result in some serious injuries and possibly fatalities if this confrontation continues to escalate."

Captain Watson said that he has been operating at a disadvantage against three harpoon boats that are superior in speed and manoeuvrability to the Steve Irwin.

"We need to block those deadly harpoons and we need to outrun these hunter killer ships and to do that I need a ship that is as fast as they are and I intend to get one and I intend to return next year." He said. "We will never stop intervening against their illegal whaling operations and we will never stop harassing them, blockading them and costing them money. I intend to be their on-going nightmare every year until they stop their horrific and unlawful slaughter of the great whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary."

This year the crew of the Steve Irwin pursued the Japanese fleet from December 18th until January 7th for over 2,000 miles, shutting down their operations for a month. The crew returned and relocated the fleet on February 1st and pursued them for another 9 days during which time the whalers were only able to kill five whales. A pursuit of the Yushin Maru #2 by the Steve Irwin on December 20th caused ice damage to the prop of the whaling ship and forced them out of operation for a month and a half. The harpoon vessel was denied repairs in Indonesia much to the embarrassment of Japan.

Confrontations between the Steve Irwin and the whaling fleet have resulted in numerous close calls and two collisions causing minor damage. The whaling fleet this year deployed Long Range Acoustical Devices (LRAD’s) and high powered water cannons against the Sea Shepherd crew. No whalers were injured. Three members of the Steve Irwin’s crew were injured with one man requiring five stitches above his left eye after being hit by a blast from the LRAD and knocked over.

Captain Paul Watson is dismissive of Japanese accusations that Sea Shepherd deliberately rammed their whaling ships "The whalers and their hired PR flunkies can say whatever they want now but we have over 1,000 hours of video footage documenting every moment of the campaign. Our story will be told on a weekly series on Animal Planet with the show Whale Wars. People can watch and judge for themselves. The camera is the most powerful weapon in the world and we intend to demonstrate that power."

On January 31st, the Japanese government dispatched a security vessel called the Taiyo Maru #38 from Fiji to intercept the Steve Irwin. The ship is believed to be carrying a special boarding unit and has orders to seize the ship and all video evidence, according to a source in Fiji. The ship is expected to arrive in the Ross Sea within days.

"We cannot allow this documentation to be captured by Japan" Said Captain Watson.

The Steve Irwin will be returning to Australia and is expected to arrive within the next two weeks. The ship had only another four days of fuel reserves to remain with the fleet before being forced to return anyways.

"Another four days is simply not worth getting someone killed," said Captain Watson. "We are down here because we respect the sanctity of life. The whalers are down here to illegally destroy life. People can choose to side with life or with death, between the whalers and the whale defenders, and we have chosen to defend life, and for those who condemn us for what we are doing, all I can say is that we are not down here for them. We’re down here for the whales."

Message from:
Captain of the Sea Shepherd ship Steve


My friends,

It is Christmas Eve down here off the coast of Antarctica and I can absolutely assure you that we are all having a very white Christmas. And it is a happy Christmas because there is no place else we would choose to be.
Not only is it a white Christmas with towering massive alabaster icebergs and heaving floes of cobalt blue ice, it is a magical Christmas as orcas, humpbacks, fins, blues and piked whales escort us through these seas, as albatross, petrels, and skua gulls fly along beside us. And on the floes, the penguins, primarily Adelie and kings comically “salute” us as we pass by.

Being in these waters is like being on another planet or in another dimension of time and reality where humans are a scarce species and the oceans teem with the diversity of life. The air is pure and smells alive and the waters even purer and moving with life.
I have spent five Christmas days since 2002 in this wondrous place and I love it here, love it perhaps more than any other place on Earth despite, or perhaps because of its isolation, its wildness, and its unpredictability.

To love something is to defend it – to be willing to fight and to die for it. And such is the love that I feel for the magnificent citizens of this vast frozen region that I have no hesitation in acting in their defence, whatever the consequences might be.

Ahead of us at this moment is a fleet of killers. Led by the ship I call the Cetacean Death Star, (formally known as the Nisshin Maru), and accompanied by three vicious harpoon vessels, they have only one purpose in these waters and that is to deliver an agonizingly cruel death to the intelligent and gentle giants that grace these waters.

We are here to save life and they are here to kill. Our purposes are clearly defined.

I do not hate these whalers. I do pity them that they can take life away so thoughtlessly and so casually without pause for remorse or reflection.
As Marc Anthony said in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “Pardon me, thou bleeding piece of Earth that I am so gentle and mild with these butchers.”

For gentle and mild we are indeed. Every fibre of my being wants to sink that obscene floating death factory, yet I must by necessity employ gentler tactics and a more complex strategy.
But every whale that dies pains me to the core of my being. I feel every harpoon and hear every scream. I smell the blood and the fear joand I see the smirks of chauvinistic humanity as they pull the triggers of their harpoon cannons and mutilate the corpses with their lances.
Restrained by our own compassion and ideals of the sacredness of life, we intercept, harass, block and pursue, driven by the guilt we must endure as whales suffer and die because of our decision of practical restraint. We seek year after year to silence the harpoons and to silence the haunting screams of the whales through tactics that although somewhat effective require time to be truly effective and time is a commodity that the whales are running short of.

And as we willingly choose to abhor a violent solution we must suffer accusations that we are violent by these same mad killers who answer our non-harmful tactics with bullets and grenades. They accuse us of being violent as they spill thousands of steaming gallons of the hottest blood on Earth into the frigid waters of Antarctica and fill the polar air with the pitiful screams of whales dying in horrific agony.
Nothing is simple in this world where commerce is absolved for passing death sentences on intelligent socially complex gentle sentient beings and where diplomacy is used as an excuse to ignore the consequences of the slaughter of the gentle and the innocent.

On this day, the eve of Christmas, the day of love and respect, we find ourselves in the most welcome position of pursuing killers with the purpose of defending their intended victims. We have them on the run and once they stop and attempt to whale we will be on them and we will stop them, as we have stopped them before and we will continue to stop them, halving their quota and costing them their bloody profits.

What better way to spend Christmas Day than saving the lives of such beautiful and uniquely marvellous beings as the whales.
And to add joy to this Christmas for all forty of us on this ship is in knowing that we have the support of so many people around the world who have made it possible for us to be here to be doing what we are doing.

Every whale we save is a whale that you save. Every blow we strike against the illegal profits of the whalers is a strike that you also have struck. In this great venture we are a team and it is a partnership that can change the way things are done on this planet – where we can challenge the arrogance and the ignorance of those who reap life and sow death for profit and culture.

If we can save just one whale from the harpoons it would be victory. However, like we did for the last two years, we intend to defend, protect, and save hundreds of these endangered and threatened giants.
As we enter a new year, we do so knowing that we are not down here alone. You are with us and for that we are deeply grateful. You give us the strength to be strong and the passion to be compassionate and the encouragement to be courageous.

Thank-you sincerely from my crew and I.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from the forty of us at the bottom of the world to all of you around this most beautiful blue and white sphere of life and diversity.


Captain Paul Watson


Operation Musashi:
Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign

The whales count on us to protect them.

Lets get shark fin removed from Canadian Superstores


The Great Canadian Superstores (owned by Loblaws) are now selling canned shark fin soup in time for the Chinese New Year. After Sharkwater’s release in Canada, Galen Weston, the CEO of Loblaws, brought me out to dinner with his wife Alexandra, and expressed his great interest in supporting the cause…..

Selling shark fins en masse; supporting the destruction of sharks, the oceans and the ecosystems we depend on for survival is how Loblaws supports the cause. Its outrageous that its happening in our own backyard… after we already know shark populations have dropped more than 90%.

Help us fight this, and show Loblaws and Galen Weston that this was a bad decision… and lets get shark fin removed from Canadian Superstores. There’s still time to turn this around.

1. Sell your loblaws stock.
Write letters to:
And call Galen Weston’s corporate office:
(416) 922-2500

Thank you to Wolfgang Leander and Rob Stewart



The Let Sharks Live Network
November 24th, 2008 2009:


As the hands of the clock approach midnight for sharks, organizations working for their protection have joined forces in a global communication network named Let Sharks Live, and declared 2009 The International Year of the Shark. The motion aims to raise global awareness of their imminent extinction and the oceanic crisis at hand.

Recent findings of the Global Shark Assessment indicate that at current rates of decline, extinction of the most threatened species of shark is forecast in 10 to 15 years. In large regions, species that were once numerous have fallen to 1% of their original numbers, in a massacre comparable to that of the buffalo on the North American plains 200 years ago, but on a much larger scale. For example, in the Mediterranean Sea there is a 97 to 99.5% decline in shark numbers. Studies of oceanic sharks estimate 80 to 90% of heavily fished species are gone. Yet these intelligent animals, also called the “Wolves of the Sea” are still fished intensively, and finned, usually while still alive, for shark fin soup.

“The oceans have evolved over hundreds of millions of years with sharks as apex predators, so their loss will destroy oceanic health.” Ila France Porcher, founder of the think tank network, explains.

Some of the issues to be addressed include:

Shark Pictures, Images and Photos

● Convincing the consumers of shark fin soup that shark finning is unsustainable and that the dish must be made using a substitute for the shark fins. Shark fin soup is a tasteless delicacy whose main use in the Far
East is to display high social status. If there is no market, the slaughter will cease.

● Educating the public regarding the true nature of sharks and their threatened status, to counter the effects of shark attack hysteria, as spread by the mass media, and which for years has posed a serious barrier to their protection.

● Obtaining protection for threatened species

● Solving the problem of the slaughter resulting from the use of shark nets and drum lines, used to protect beaches in some areas

● Reducing bycatch losses, and the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits defined in fisheries law

● Promoting marine protected areas, and enforcing protection of sharks within existing ones.

● Persuading shark fishermen to practise tag and release only, rather than killing the sharks they fish.

Shark Pictures, Images and Photos

The threats sharks face in this modern world of human domination are daunting. The enormous scale of commercial longline fishing and bycatch,
the methodical massacre for shark fin soup, habitat loss and destruction, particularly of nursery areas, pollution, and a variety of smaller operations that have great impact taken together, are the main threats to the future of sharks.

"Our goal is to see the retreat of these magnificent animals from extinction's horizon." says Alex Buttigieg, cofounder of the network.

For further information, please contact:
Alex Buttigieg,(sharkmanab@gmail.com)
Ila France Porcher, (ila@smartech.pf)





Photobucket For filmmaker Rob Stewart, exploring sharks began as an underwater adventure. What it turned into was a beautiful and dangerous life journey into the balance of life on earth. Driven by passion fed from a lifelong fascination with sharks, Stewart debunks historical stereotypes and media depictions of sharks as bloodthirsty, man-eating monsters and reveals the reality of sharks as pillars in the evolution of the seas. Filmed in visually stunning, high definition video, Sharkwater takes you into the most shark rich waters of the world, exposing the exploitation and corruption surrounding the world's shark populations in the marine reserves of Cocos Island, Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. In an effort to protect sharks, Stewart teams up with renegade conservationist Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Their unbelievable adventure together starts with a battle between the Sea Shepherd and shark poachers in Guatemala, resulting in pirate boat rammings, gunboat chases, mafia espionage, corrupt court systems and attempted murder charges, forcing them to flee for their lives. Through it all, Stewart discovers these magnificent creatures have gone from predator to prey, and how despite surviving the earth's history of mass extinctions, they could easily be wiped out within a few years due to human greed. Stewart's remarkable journey of courage and determination changes from a mission to save the world's sharks, into a fight for his life, and that of humankind.