[Sust-mar] An Open Letter from Captain Paul Watson from the Tasman Sea

Ellen durkee ellen_durkee at hotmail.com
Tue Dec 9 04:28:13 EST 2008


----- Forwarded message from paulwatson at seashepherd.org -----

     Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2008 16:43:52 -0800

     From: paulwatson at seashepherd.org

Reply-To: paulwatson at seashepherd.org

  Subject: An Open Letter from Captain Paul Watson from the Tasman Sea

       To: paul at seashepherd.org

An Open Letter from Captain Paul Watson from the Tasman Sea

Dear Friends,

We are finally on our way. My ship Steve Irwin and my crew left Brisbane

in Queensland, Australia on December 4th. We made a brief stop in

Newcastle in New South Wales to take on fuel and oil and departed on

December 7th. We will make another brief stop in Hobart in Tasmania to

top up the fuel tanks to allow us the maximum range when we head to the

Ross Sea to intercept the Japanese whaling fleet.

We are under no illusion that this will be an easy campaign. Japan has

budgeted 8 million dollars to oppose our efforts. What this means we

have no idea. Will they send a gunboat? We don't know for sure but they

have said they will arrest us if we interfere with their illegal whaling

operations. How they will do that is unknown. Will the fire on our ship

or board our ship? - we don't know. We just need to be prepared for all


This is a four part campaign. Basically it gets down to "prepare,

search, intercept, and stop".

We are prepared. We have improved the ship substantially since the last


We have a newly constructed helicopter deck and hanger, a completely

over-hauled helicopter and in addition to our very experienced

ex-military (U.S. Marine) pilot we also have a dedicated helicopter


On deck we have a new hydraulic winch and two new fast interceptor


We have three times the safety equipment required including immersion

suits, survival suits, lifeboats, and EPIRB's. We also have a medical

doctor onboard and officers holding EMT certificates.

We have a master welder, master carpenter, and a crew of very

experienced engineers led by our longtime Chief Engineer Charles

Hutchings. We have qualified divers, communication techs, and navigators

We also have new tactics, new equipment and new ideas to help us with

our mission.

And we have an excellent crew. There are 40 crew presently, plus an 8

person crew from Animal Planet to shoot the 2nd season of Whale Wars. A

third of the crew is Australian and a third American with the remaining

third composed of citizens from Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Bermuda,

New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, Hungary and Japan.

A third of the crew are women and half of the crew are returning


Upon leaving Hobart, we will begin the 2nd phase of the campaign - the

search. This year the Japanese whaling fleet is operating in the Ross

Sea and that is where we will be heading. It's a long haul to get there

and once there it's a vast area to search but we will scour those remote

frozen seas until we find them and once we do we will intercept them and

hopefully before they kill too many whales.

There are quite a few differences between this campaign and our previous

four voyages to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

This year we will be very much alone down there.

The new Australian government of Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett has

reneged on their election promises and they will not have any ships in

the Southern Ocean.. In fact the Australian Navy has been ordered into

port - practically all of their ships and their officers and crew have

been sent home for a two month vacation. There is not a single

Australian government ship patrolling the Australian Antarctic

Territorial waters despite the fact that the Japanese whaling fleet has

been killing whales in direct contempt of an Australian Federal Court

ruling specifically forbidding the killing of whales in waters over

which Australia has declared sovereignty.

Greenpeace will not be down in the Southern Ocean, despite raising

millions of dollars for that express purpose. They have backed out

primarily because they do not want to be associated with Sea Shepherd

actions. Their excuse is that they need to address the trial of two of

their Japanese activists. Greenpeace has the funding to do both and they

certainly have the ships. The truth is that they have surrendered the

Southern Oceans to the Japanese whaling fleet. They no longer have the

stomach for confrontation.

The key to success with the Japanese whalers is persistence. We must

never retreat or surrender the Southern Ocean Sanctuary to them. We must

continue to undermine their profits and we must continue to expose their

illegal activities to the world.

We must do this no matter what obstacles they throw up before us, no

matter how violent they become, no matter what political, media and

economic pressure they direct at us.

They can call us all the names in the world but they cannot deny the

reality that they are targeting threatened and endangered whales in an

established whale sanctuary in violation of the international moratorium

on commercial whaling and in contempt of the Australian courts.

Sea Shepherd on the other hand has not, and is not violating

international law. We have not injured anyone and we have not been

charged with any crime. We are acting in accordance with the principles

established in the United Nations World Charter for Nature by working to

uphold and enforce international conservation law.

I have called this year's campaign - Operation Musashi. This is in

recognition of Miyamoto Musashi, who is to the Japanese what Robin Hood,

Ned Kelly and Jesse James are to the British, the Australians and the


Aside from being an outlaw, Musashi was also a master strategist. I have

incorporated his strategy of a twofold way of pen and sword which means

the approaching of the problem through confrontation and communication

or education.

Our physical interventions to stop the killing of whales is the sword

and our participation in the television series Whale Wars is the pen.

And we also carry the most effective weapon ever designed - the camera.

What will happen this year?

It is hard to predict with certainty? Will we find the fleet? I am

confident that we will. Will they react more violently this year than

last year? We suspect that they will. Will we prevent them from killing

whale? I am confident that we will be able to do so.

But as Musashi once observed with regard to strategy, we need to proceed

towards the whaling fleet with absolute resolve, with courage and

determination, focusing on the goal of saving the lives of as many

whales as possible, undeterred by threats or physical violence,

unconcerned with the consequences, prepared and cautious yet committed

to a policy of no retreat and no surrender. We need to understand that

when we say we are willing to risk our lives for the whales that it is

not a meaningless slogan on a banner to us - it is what we do. We need

to demonstrate to the world that there are human beings willing to risk

all to protect diversity and the right of other species to live

unmolested by the rapacious greed of humankind. We fight not just for

the whales in those remote southern waters - we fight for the diversity

of life and thus the future of our own kind upon this planet.

It will be a dramatic campaign and I will direct all my energies into

ensuring that it will be an effective campaign and that the lives of

whales will be saved.

I cannot tell you in words just how wonderful it is to have intervened

for the whales in the seasons past. To know that at this moment, there

are whales swimming freely in those lonely waters that would now be dead

if not for our interventions. To know that so many baby whales have been

brought into being because we were able to force the whalers to spare

their mothers is a source of great happiness for me. I feel them out

there, so alive and so aware, in those dark and cold waters and it is

this connection that calms my soul with the purring hum of contentment

in my heart. In truth to die in defense of life is the most honourable

death I can think of and thus there can be no fear - only enlightenment

and contentment.

And so it is southward that our bow is pointed and it is two thousand

miles to the south amongst the ice bergs in the remote frozen south

polar seas that we will once again skirmish with the killers of the

gentle giants of the sea.

And for their sake and for the sake of our children we will prevail and

we will drive these vicious killers from the Southern Ocean Whale

Sanctuary and thus we will restore the integrity of the Sanctuary in a

world where governments seem to have lost the meaning of the word


And so for the whales we sail on towards what I believe will be our most

aggressive and most effective confrontation with the Japanese whalers


Captain Paul Watson

Founder and President of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (1977-

Co-Founder - The Greenpeace Foundation (1972)

Co-Founder - Greenpeace International (1979)

Director for Greenpeace (1972-1977)

Director of the Sierra Club USA (2003-2006)

Director of the Farley Mowat Institute

Working Partner with the Ecuadorian National Environmental Police and

the Galapagos National Park

Master of the M/Y Steve Irwin

Master of the M/Y Farley Mowat

"Sail forth - steer for the deep waters only,

Reckless O soul, exploring, I with thee and thou with me,

For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go,

And we risk the ship, ourselves and all"

- Walt Whitman

www.Seashepherd.org <http://www.seashepherd.org/>

Tel: 360-370-5650

Fax: 360-370-5651

Cell: 310-701-3096

Address: P.O. Box 2616

Friday Harbor, Wa  98250


MySpace Address: myspace.com/captainpaulwatson

----- End forwarded message -----


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