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Japanese whalers hit activist vessel

January 6, 2010

When I said in a previous post that this annual stoush would not bring whaling to an end, that was before today’s news that someone  in the Japanese whaling fleet has deliberately rammed and sunk one of Sea Shepherd’s boats.

This news lifts the situation to a whole new and quite precarious level.

In truth, the diplomatic exchanges between Japanese and many other anti-whaling governments have gone as far as they can, unless these countries are prepared to trade something away.  The real power – as is so often the case – rests with Japan’s major trading partner the USA.

In the background of the past few years of annual whaling meetings is a deal between these two power brokers, which may well trade safety of whales in the southern ocean (possibly southern hemisphere) for rights to legitimately whale closer to Japan shores. But this is all premised on  Japan behaving inside maritime law and international norms.

So, while I have said in an earlier post that the annual stoush in the Southern Ocean just pushes that deal of ‘legitimized whaling’ closer, if this media proves accurate, the Japanese whaler may may just have crossed a line which could be sufficiently embarrassing to shift the Japanese Government’s position. We can only hope.

Margi Prideaux

UPDATE (January 7 2010):  Since writing this post, more footage has come to light and it is now unclear who is and will be held responsible in this case. Regardless, I wish to echo Robert Merkel’s comment on Larvatus Prodeo:

The Southern Ocean is far too dangerous a place to be playing games. Both Sea Shepherd and the ICR were taking stupid risks, and their actions should be made explicitly illegal.

.

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