[Sust-mar] An Open Letter from Captain Paul Watson from the Tasman Sea
ellen_durkee at hotmail.com
Tue Dec 9 15:58:15 EST 2008
Sorry all, I'd sent it as an attachment
----- 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
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
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
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 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
Address: P.O. Box 2616
Friday Harbor, Wa 98250
MySpace Address: myspace.com/captainpaulwatson
----- End forwarded message -----
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