By Alan Tristram

March 20, 2010

The Anti-Whaling ship Steve Irwin flies the Skull and Crossbones from the foremast in Wellington Harbour.

The anti-whaling campaigner Captain Paul Watson has sailed into Wellington with a message for the Prime Minister – “it’s time to stand up to Japan.”

Captain Watson arrived in the Sea Shepherd organisation ship, the Steve Irwin, from Tasmania after a series of brutal clashes with Japanese whalers in Antarctica.

During one encounter, Kiwi Peter Bethune was arrested and taken to Japan after he boarded the Shonan Maru II to try to make a citizen’s arrest of the captain for attempted murder. In January, Bethune’s boat the Ady Gil was sliced in two by the Japanese whaler.

Captain Watson and Kiwi Brad Latimer

Captain Watson told the Kapiti Independent News that Prime Minister Key must stop kow towing to the Japanese Government.

“It’s outrageous that a New Zealand ship was deliberately rammed by the Japanese and the New Zealand Government is doing nothing,” he said.

Captain Watson said there were two main reasons why the Steve Irwin and its crew of 17, including three Kiwis, were visiting New Zealand.

“One, it’s to show solidarity with Peter Bethune,” he said.

“Two, we want to express our outrage about New Zealand’s move to compromise on whaling.”

Referring to reports that New Zealand might agree to a compromise deal with Japan in international talks by agreeing to limited whaling, Captain Watson said:

Why has the New /Zealand Government decided to suck up to Japan? I cannot understand it.”

He said Japan was trying to buy votes among smaller Pacific states in the International Whaling Commission, but could not do this with New Zealand, so it was making economic threats.

Crew Listen to Powhiri

Powhiri for Ship’s Crew at Dockside

The Steve Irwin crew were given a Maori powhiri welcome on the dockside at Queen’s wharf after they disembarked. Mike Smith (Ngapuhi) said the campaigners had the support of New Zealanders and he praised their courage.


Mike Smith Ngapuhi) and Hinekaa Mako (Taranaki/Whanganui)

Among the crowd of supporters at the ceremony were the Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman and the youngest Green MP Gareth Hughes.

The Sea Shepherd campaigners – mostly young men and women in their twenties and thirties – planned several more public activities during their brief stay in the Capital.

Today the ship is open for tours and Captain Watson is giving a talk at the Chicago Bar on the waterfront — and in the evening a charity concert is being held to raise money for the campaign to free Pete Bethune from jail in Tokyo.

An impressive young crew


The crew of young men and women from around the world were impressive by any standard: well-organised, friendly, intelligent — and determined.

One of the crew’s Kiwis, 25-yearold Brad Latimer, from Dunedin, said he thinks New Zealand is going to have to step up its anti-whaling activities.

“It’s time to stop tolerating what’s going on.” He said.

His shipmate Chad Halstead, from Philadelphia in the United States, said they want to raise awareness among New Zealanders.

The Japanese ship Shona Maru, he said, had nearly rammed their ship and could have killed some of the crew.

“I would hope the New Zealand would give Sea Shepherd and their own citizens as much support as the Australian Government does.”

One of the young women, Megan Holly, joined the ship in Hobart, Tasmania, after campaigning on shore for the Sea Shepherd organisation.

What are her duties on board? “I’m a jack of all trades,” she said,” deckhand, quartermaster, whatever.”

She said the crew all get on well. “We’re all here for the same reason – cut from the same piece of cloth,” she said.

New campaign in the Mediterranean


After sailing from Wellington at the weekend, the Steve Irwin will head for the Galapagos Islands, Panama and New York.

Then it will head for the Mediterranean to begin a new campaign against over-fishing of Blue Fin Tuna, which is ravaging the tuna population there.

“This will be even tougher,” said Captain Watson “It (the fishing) is run by the mafia!”


More comments from Captain Paul Watson
for those apposed to reading oilcrash.com

The largest marine predator on the planet right now is the cow. More than half the fish taken from the sea is rendered into fish meal and fed to domestic livestock. Puffins are starving in the North sea to feed sand eels to chickens in Denmark. Sheep and pigs have replaced the shark and the sea lion as the dominant predators in the ocean and domestic house cats are eating more fish than all the world’s seals combined. We are extracting some fifty to sixty fish from the sea to raise one farm raised salmon.

This is ecological insanity.

Yet the demand for shark fin is rising in China. Ignorant people still want to wear fur coats. In America, we order fries, a cheeseburger and a “diet” coke.

Ecological insanity folks.

Last week a reporter called to ask me if I had really said that earth worms are more important than people. I answered that yes I had. He then asked how I could justify such a statement.

“Simple,” I answered. “Earthworms can live on the planet without people. We cannot live on the planet without earthworms thus from an ecological point of view, earthworms are more important than people.”

He said that I was insane for suggesting such a ridiculous idea when people were made in the image of God, and earthworms were not.

What we have here of course is a failure to communicate between two radically different world views. His which is anthropocentric and sees reality as human centred and mine which is biocentric and sees reality as including all species equally working in interdependence. He sees us as divine and better than all the other species and I see us as a bunch of arrogant primates out of control.

But that’s my two cents worth for Earth Day 2007.

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