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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



JARPA II 2006/2007 Update #5 - Belize stands up

As one would have expected, it's been a quiet Christmas / New Year's break in whaling land (why protest when there is no one watching TV?) but there has been one interesting development.

As I mentioned in my first JARPA II 2006/2007 update, states to which the Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace protest vessels are flagged have a responsibility to take actions with respect to inappropriate behaviour by these vessels.

Subsequently, we learned that Sea Shepherd had struggled to have it's slow Farley Mowat vessel registered in Britain, but had been successful registering with Belize (Belize somewhat famously voted against the pro-sustainable use bloc at the IWC meeting in 2006 on every measure, despite previously having been accused of selling it's vote to Japan by Sea Shepherd and others).

The big news today is that Belize has already taken actions with respect to the Farley Mowat - apparently it has torn up the registration:
Belizean flagged ship de-registered for threatening whalers

It is a common practice for vessels that engage in illegal fishing to be punished by the nation whose flag they happen to fly. But last week, instead of a rogue fisherman being sanctioned it was a ship suspected of engaging in radical environmental action that lost its papers. According to a release from IMMARBE, the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize, the motor vessel "Farley Mowat" was registered to fly the Belize flag on December fifteenth as a pleasure craft that would also conduct research on the Belize Barrier Reef. Subsequent investigations, however, revealed that the ship was in Australian waters about to embark on an all too familiar mission to ram and otherwise interfere with ships engaged in whaling. The owners of "Farley Mowat" admitted to IMMARBE that the ship would be put on loan to the Sea Shepard Conservation Society, a militant environmental group which since 1979 has engaged in various aggressive actions against the whaling industry, including sabotage and ramming. According to the IMMARBE release, although Belize has voted with the anti-whaling bloc at the International Whaling Commission, it cannot condone acts that threaten life and property at sea. Consequently, the "Farley Mowat" was de-registered by IMMARBE on December twenty-ninth. Although in its early years as a "flag of convenience" registry IMMARBE earned a reputation for laxity, it has recently cleaned up its act to the point where it is one of only nine registries in the world to hold the U.S. Coastguard QUALSHIP 21 certification.
Presumably this once again puts Sea Shepherd in a bit of a pickle - the Farley Mowat is apparently also carrying a helicopter which will be indispensable to them in searching for the whaling fleet, once they arrive in the Ross sea vicinity. Their other newly purchased ship, apparently fast enough to keep pace with the whaling fleet, will be rendered ineffective without a location with which to find the research vessels.

There's no mention of this situation on the Sea Shepherd website yet, but one would not be surprised if Captain Watson gives it a mention, and turns back to his previous accusations of Japanese influence in Belize in light of this. Then again, maybe Greenpeace will again be the subject of Watson's ongoing frustrations.

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A happy new year!

Now I am glad to have info !
How nice!

I thought that you and Kana-san were spending nice holidays without worrying about the crazy SS captain's behavior.

All the world is keeping eyes on the crazy captain to stop him!


Happy New Year to you, also!
kotoshi mo yoroshiku desu!

Indeed, I had a very nice holiday for the last week with little thought paid to the nonsense of SSCS and GP.

I hope you also enjoyed a nice break!

This was good news to come back to though. It helps one to have faith in the systems of international agreements that are in place. I can't agree with Belize for their stance at the IWC, but the IMMARBE has done Belize proud with this action.
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