Australia: Sea Shepherd documentary reveals tactics used by anti-whaling activists - PressFrom - Australia
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AustraliaSea Shepherd documentary reveals tactics used by anti-whaling activists

21:01  23 july  2019
21:01  23 july  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an anti - whaling lobby group, has released video which it claims shows Japanese vessels intentionally ramming one of

We use innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document , and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas . By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.

Sea Shepherd documentary reveals tactics used by anti-whaling activists
Sea Shepherd documentary reveals tactics used by anti-whaling activists
Sea Shepherd documentary reveals tactics used by anti-whaling activists
Sea Shepherd documentary reveals tactics used by anti-whaling activists
Sea Shepherd documentary reveals tactics used by anti-whaling activists

It's 2013 and the Sea Shepherd crew are deep in the Southern Ocean chasing Japanese whalers.

At the helm of the marine activists' main vessel, Bob Barker, is 28-year-old captain Peter Hammarstedt.

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The Southern Ocean was a sanctuary – but now Japan’s boats have military hardware and conservationists can no longer track them.

The anti - whaling vessel has been damaged by a wave while chasing the Japanese whaling fleet Whale meat not used for study is sold as food in Japan, which critics say is the real reason for the Sea Shepherd has sent boats to the waters off Antarctica for the past several years in an attempt to

He's directing crew and angling his ship between the Nisshin Maru — Japan's whale-carving factory — and a refuelling tanker.

Hammarstedt grabs the radio.

"Nisshin Maru this is the Bob Barker. I will not move. You will have to sink me. Back off," he said.

This is Operation Zero Tolerance, and the Sea Shepherd crew — alongside sister ship Steve Irwin — have been in a cat and mouse chase with the whalers for a few days, trying to disrupt their hunt.

They hope if they can stop the refuelling they can stop the killing.

At the time, Japan said it was covered for whaling for scientific purposes. The Sea Shepherd and the Australian Government said this was a flimsy pretence for commercial whaling.

"Thrust against them," Hammarstedt instructs his crew, as he relays that the engine room is taking water.

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The environmentalist group Sea Shepherd has called off its annual pursuit of Japanese whaling In addition to filming the operations, the group uses confrontational tactics that include shooting Since 2005, Sea Shepherd has patrolled the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, a protected area where

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Read in another language. Watch this page. Edit. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is a non-profit, marine conservation organization based in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, Washington, in the United States.

The Nisshin Maru is pounding them with a water cannon and what look like flashbang grenades are being lobbed their way.

As they manoeuvre between the whalers and the tanker the situation suddenly escalates.

"They've got us, pushing us into the tanker," Hammarstedt said, as he jumps on the radio again.

"Nisshin Maru — Bob Barker. You are pushing us into the tanker. You're going to create an environmental mess. Stay clear of me."

Then the crunch comes.

'I didn't expect it to get so aggressive'

Raw footage of the ship being sandwiched on the high seas went global at the time as Australia prepared to drag Japan through the International Court of Justice to stop its operation — a case it ultimately won.

Now, a new documentary has delved inside the moments and decisions that led to the collision.

Defend, Conserve, Protect will be released nationally this week and is a four-year labour of love by Australian documentary filmmaker Stephen Amis, who admits it is a decidedly anti-whaling project.

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The anti - whaling organisation Sea Shepherd will not contest the Southern Ocean against Japanese whalers this season, Captain Paul Watson has announced, accusing “hostile governments” in the US, Australia and New Zealand of acting “in league with Japan” against the protest vessel.

Prosecutors today indicted an anti - whaling activist from New Zealand on charges that could lead to a Sea Shepherd described Bethune as a "political prisoner" yesterday, when it released a statement on its Whale meat not used for study is sold for consumption in Japan. The Sea Shepherd sends

"That's what gives the film its emotional power," he said.

Narrated by actor Dan Aykroyd, it combines new and archival footage with interviews to tell the story of the four-month operation.

Sea Shepherd has long understood the power of photos and videos to spread its message, and has previously welcomed photographers and cameras on board to document its work.

Eliza Muirhead was a volunteer photographer aboard the Steve Irwin when the collision took place and said she wasn't fully prepared for what happened.

"I had seen vision of confrontations before between Sea Shepherd and the Japanese whaling fleet ... but I never expected it to get as aggressive as it did," she said.

"I suppose I thought that all of those confrontations were kind of built up for reality TV."

For Amis, the risks Sea Shepherd take are worth it.

"It's interesting now seeing what they do and how they do it," he said.

"Yes there are risks but I think they're all calculated risks.

"There are some scenes in the film where they just back down, they thought it was too dangerous and they backed off, they didn't want to create an oil spill."

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Footage released by conservation group Sea Shepherd shows one of its boats being tossed between two Japanese whaling ships. It comes a week after the anti - whaling campaigners said their boat had been rammed intentionally by the whalers in the Antarctic.

The anti - whaling organization Sea Shepherd Global has said it won't be going after the Japanese fleet of For the past 12 years, the group, set up by former Greenpeace activist Paul Watson, has been Watson's group used a variety of tactics , including ramming whaling ships, flinging smoke bombs

The film recently picked up the Best International Feature Documentary at the American Documentary Film Festival, but breaks the mould of the traditionally neutral observer.

This isn't an impartial window into the whale wars, it's an extension of Sea Shepherd's activism and was crowdfunded by 750 environmentalists who wanted their message out there.

"It's a great window of activism into the arts," Amis said.

"I wanted to step out and put my opinion across. I wasn't even looking for something that was necessarily fair and balanced."

The hunt is back on

Just this month the Nisshin Maru set sail again.

But this time it scrubbed the word "research" from its hull and embarked on the first acknowledged for-profit commercial whale hunt in 30 years.

It's sticking only to Japanese waters after quitting the International Whaling Commission last December, thus giving up a legal right to its so-called "scientific whaling program" in the Southern Ocean.

Ms Muirhead is now the communications director with Sea Shepherd Australia and condemned the move.

She also defended the tactics of her organisation in initiating confrontations.

"The Sea Shepherd is about non-violent direct action, so it might be aggressive behaviour but there's nothing violent about it," Ms Muirhead said.

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"And the way that the Japanese whaling fleet were reacting [in 2013] was incredibly dangerous.

"The shocking thing to me is that it's really the Australian Government's job to go down to Antarctica and stop illegal whaling occurring.

"The fact that it's an NGO being responsible for this, to me that's the most shocking part."

Australia has long held a stance against Japan's whaling, but it's understood the issue wasn't raised by Prime Minister Scott Morrison when he met his counterpart Shinzo Abe during the G20 Summit in Osaka last month.

"I welcome the fact that they are not doing anything in the Southern Ocean now, that is a welcome development," Mr Morrison said.

"I am not going to allow our relationship with Japan to be defined by this issue."

As for whether Sea Shepherd ships would seek to again "fill a law enforcement vacuum" and confront Japanese whalers in their own waters, Ms Muirhead was less than concrete.

"There's no plans at the moment in place, but I can't really speak to the future of what's going to happen," she said.

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