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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 #17 - NZ provides aid to whaler

Today's update starts with a big bravo to the New Zealand government.

I've been critical of Chris Carter in the past on whaling policy details, and will probably continue to be critical as long as the New Zealand government's policy does not change. Nonetheless, this season New Zealand has acted as a responsible world citizen, firstly by refusing to provide the co-ordinates of the ICR whaling fleet to protest groups for safety reasons, and now secondly, in making medical assistance available to a crew member on board one of the whaling ships who fell ill:
New Zealand Enables Medical Aid To Japanese Whaling Crew Member
12:34 pm, 04 Feb 2007

New Zealand has enabled medical aid to be given to a crew member of the Japanese whaling fleet who fell gravely ill in the Southern Ocean, Conservation Minister Chris Carter said today.

"The crew member is now receiving medical attention in New Zealand following an urgent request for assistance from the Japanese whaling fleet," Mr Carter said.

"Despite New Zealand's strong opposition to Japan's whaling activities, and our diplomatic efforts to bring a halt to them, we do have a responsibility as a nation to act in a humanitarian way. A person's life was at risk. Under the international law of the sea, New Zealand could not ignore a call for help from a ship operating in an area of sea where New Zealand has responsibility for search and rescue.

"The crew member was delivered by ship to the edge of New Zealand's territorial waters late last week and transported ashore in a New Zealand helicopter," Mr Carter said.

"At no time did any vessel from the Japanese whaling fleet cross New Zealand's 12 mile territorial boundary, and nor has the New Zealand government provided any fuel or supplies to the Japanese fleet. All the costs of the crew member's transport and treatment will be paid for by Japan.

"I stress again that New Zealand's opposition to whaling is unchanged. There is no need to kill whales in order to study them. New Zealand will continue to bring diplomatic pressure to bear on Japan encouraging it to drop its scientific whaling programme.

"We have helped in this case because that is the Kiwi way," Mr Carter said.

So as I said, Bravo to the New Zealand government.

It is unfortunate however that NZ's Conservation Minister finds himself releasing such a defensive comment explaining and justifying the action to the public. Surely no sensible person would criticise New Zealand or any other nation for taking such a responsible "humanitarian" action in such circumstances? (Hold that thought anyway, as this news has only just broken... you never know)

Another small question mark I have is why the Conservation Minister has found himself conducting media conferences in relation to video footage taken by RNZ Air Force aircraft, and now releasing this statement on medical assistance. I'm no expert in portfolio matters, but surely both these issues would more appropriately have been handled by the Defence Minister. Chris Carter wasn't Defence Minister last time I checked.

Best wishes to the stricken Japanese crew member...

UPDATE 17:45 PM: According to a Monsters and Critics article the crew member had a "a life-threatening gastric condition", and NewstalkZB reports that "he is suffering from acute intestinal problems and requires intensive care."

* * *

In other recent news, a post at Greenpeace's "ocean defenders" weblog reminiscent of now sacked Australian Environment Minister, Ian Campbell, raised an eyebrow. "Sara" from Greenpeace, while stressing that ...
Greenpeace does not work with Sea Shepherd ...
... complained about the British authorities' move to strike the new Sea Shepherd vessel, the Robert Hunter, off their register:
... it would seem they are happy to actively help the Japanese government de-flag a vessel that has not been involved in any criminal activity.

For years Greenpeace has campaigned to get governments, including the UK and Canada to de-flag vessels that are illegally fishing or polluting. I can't begin to tell how often we are told how difficult it is to take action and it most certainly can't be done without physical evidence of a crime being committed. How then, can the Robert Hunter be so quickly dispatched?

This is blatant hypocrisy. Mr. Blair - stop de-flagging vessels that have no criminal history ...
Perhaps one of Sara's more mature and level-headed crew mates ought to sit her down and whack it into her head why Greenpeace has a purported policy of not working with Sea Shepherd.
One would hope that not all the Greenpeace crew have such a lack of ability to think things through objectively.

Incidentally, the Scotsman tells a different story to Captain Watson:
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ... said the UK was acting on a request by Tokyo after its flagship, the Farley Mowat, was deregistered by Belize.


However the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency said Japan had not influenced the decision, which was made because the vessel's activities did not conform with its status as a pleasure vessel on the register.


David Wright, the UK Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen, said the Robert Hunter's activities with Sea Shepherd are "inconsistent with her status as a pleasure vessel".

"The registrar general therefore took the decision to remove her from the register. I was made aware of these activities by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office," he said.

I personally will take the UK Registrar General on his word, rather than put my faith in Captain Watson.

The Scotsman article also has a nice summary of international law:

• THE United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea sets out the duty of all countries to "co-operate to the fullest possible extent in the repression of piracy on the high seas".

Piracy is defined as "any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or private aircraft, directed against another ship or aircraft or the people and property on board".

A vessel is considered to be a "pirate ship" simply if the people in charge intend to commit any of the above acts or have already done so.

Article 105 says: "On the high seas, or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any state, every state may seize a pirate ship or aircraft, or a ship or aircraft taken by piracy and under the control of pirates, and arrest the persons and seize the property on board."

However the convention also says seizing a ship without adequate grounds will make the country liable for any losses or damage.

* * *

Today we are entering what is probably ninth week of research for this season. One assumes that despite the ill crew member, the JARPA II activity has been running smoothly. Assuming normal conditions prevail I would expect that there are at least another five weeks to go, but this is the first season of JARPA II in Area V and the western part of Area VI, so another 40 days at least can probably be expected.

Sea Shepherd will probably be departing the Ross Sea sometime later this week to refuel (unless they decide they want to have New Zealand come and rescue them), which should see the end of them (for this season at least, although I don't think they will ever again have much luck with ship registrations). Late-comers Greenpeace have apparently just entered the Southern Ocean, and will probably need to waste time and fuel if they are to locate the ICR fleet at all. I think they'll need more than just luck to do it. Surely some of their supporters must be asking whether there aren't more productive things to be doing?

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What are the area III and IV where the ship are located? Thank you for website!
The ship are located at 72°59'S, 052°12'E. You are welcome for website and co-ordinates.
You should have put 0°0'S, 0°0'E. As those coordinates are just as believable. I guess you cant trust anything on this blog.
Oh you poor poor thing.
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