Kiwi's Join Sea Shepherd's Fight In
The Sea Shepherd is attempting to save some of the 900 Minke and countless Humpback Whales from Japanese ‘scientific’ whaling in International waters. Whaling which will be in an environmental zone and a ‘safe’ breeding ground for the species, near Antarctica. Japanese, use explosives in their harpoons; dying is a slow, sad process. The two New Zealand crew are Jaimie Brown from Kaikoura and Marcus Graham of North Shore, Auckland. Both are utterly sure that what they will be doing will be of importance and mean a worthwhile result.
A tour around the vessel, which was resting in a ‘free’ berth courtesy of Melbourne Port generosity, whilst it built up stocks for the long and arduous trip into Antarctic waters, was conducted by a former teacher, from the Netherlands Christian de Vaan. Mr Vaan had illustrated to his pupils, the size of the whales, by drawing their outline around the school playground. The Blue Whale (another target)has a tongue as big as a car, a heart as heavy as an elephant. He, like the other crew members, is a volunteer who had to quit his professional job to come on this mission.
All crew are required to be vegan whilst on board, meals are prepared in the spartan Galley and eaten in the small quarters nearby, amidships. There a video of Captain Paul Watson is shown to people taking the tour, to graphically bring home the message of how inhumane ‘culling’ these great creatures is. Whales are shown dying in agony, friends around, seeking to help but being deliberately targeted also.
How do crew sustain themselves? They have the ‘imprimatur’ of the Dalai Lama. There is a fierce dragon-like statue given by him with a message of being pro active to prevent evil being done. “If you want to change people and put them on the path of enlightenment use a little bit of fear.” Alongside this is a bust of Neptune and a photograph of the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Farley Mowat, after whom this ship is named.
The mantra: “We are Pirates of compassion, hunting down pirates of profit.”
The Captain of the vessel, Paul Watson says: “The slaughter of whales has no place in the 21st Century.”
The interior of the vessel has a mural on crew quarters of harp seals, which in the North are killed in numbers exceeding 300,000 annually for fur, many being skinned whilst alive. The Whale meat that is illegally taken for ‘scientific’ purposes, is discussed as not a preferred diet for Japanese anymore, fewer than 40% claim to eat whale meat, but it is used for food and is fed to school children, it is also put into animal foods and into other products.
As we are very aware in New Zealand the vote on commercial whaling resuming is at present a close call. The moratorium set up in 1986, is thinly held and not at all complied with by many countries including, alongside Japan, Norway, not to mention many others closer to our southern seas area, against whom the Sea Shepherd stands as a small bulwark of compassionate and committed pirates of mercy.