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Japan Deploys LRAD Against Sea Shepherd Helicopter

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 17, 2009

For related images and video: http://media.seashepherd.org

Japan Deploys LRAD Against Sea Shepherd Helicopter

Southern Ocean
- Sea Shepherd’s ship Steve Irwin is ten days at sea after departing Fremantle, Australia, and has had a Japanese tail ship for nine of those days, the Shonan Maru No. 2. This Japanese security ship is reporting the Steve Irwin’s location, preventing them from closing in on the whaling fleet.

Sea Shepherd entered French Antarctic territorial waters after graciously receiving permission from the French Base at Dumont D’Urville in an attempt to lose the tail ship. The Shonan Maru No. 2 followed the Steve Irwin into French waters without permission in illegal pursuit. The French Base confirms that the Japanese ship neither requested nor received permission to enter French waters.

At 1730, the Steve Irwin helicopter flew back to film the Shonan Maru No. 2 in its illegal pursuit. In response, the crew of the Japanese ship activated their Long Range Acoustical Device (LRAD) at the Sea Shepherd helicopter. LRAD is a military class weapon.

“This was an extremely irresponsible thing to do,” said helicopter pilot Chris Aultman. “That device can cause nausea and disorientation and the use of it against an aircraft is both extremely dangerous and grossly irresponsible.”

The Sea Shepherd helicopter returned to the Steve Irwin for safety from the LRAD, at which point, the Shonan Maru No. 2 increased speed and aimed their water canons in an attempt to destroy the helicopter on the landing pad. This occurred while the crew was attempting to secure the helicopter.

Captain Watson responded by deploying a 150-meter line aft of the vessel to force the Shonan Maru No. 2 to maintain a safe distance. The Sea Shepherd ship is undamaged and the crew safe.

Sea Shepherd has reported the incident to the French authorities. The pursuit continues.

“The situation is now very dangerous,” said Captain Paul Watson “We have deliberately led the Japanese ship into thick ice in order to lose them in the ice. The ice bergs could easily damage either vessel.”

About Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an International non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protects ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd uses 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. Founder and President Captain Paul Watson, is a renowned, respected leader in environmental issues. Visit www.seashepherd.org for more information.

ENDS

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