Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

Sea Shepherd anti-whalers now labeled 'pirates' by US fed court

Published time: February 27, 2013 11:42
Edited time: February 27, 2013 19:17
The Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker (R) colliding with the Japanese whaling fleet fuel tanker the San Laurel. (AFP Photo)

The Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker (R) colliding with the Japanese whaling fleet fuel tanker the San Laurel. (AFP Photo)

A US federal court has branded the conservationist group Sea Shepherd as pirates, and ordered them to cease their operations at sea, opening the door for Japanese whalers to pursue legal action in the United States against the activists.

Chief judge Alex Kozinski wrote in an 18-page opinion that “you don’t need a peg leg or an eye patch” to be classified as pirates.

"When you ram ships, hurl glass containers of acid, drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders, launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks, and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate," he said, adding that the group’s actions were the “very embodiment of piracy.”

But Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson says Kozinski's belief that he is a "pirate" is one-sided and irrelevant.

"That's an opinion, it's certainly not a judgment," he told AAP. "He didn't mention anything in there about the fact that the Japanese have destroyed one of our ships (the Ady Gil in 2010), they've thrown concussion grenades at us, hit us with water cannons and laser beams."

Watson added that contrary to Kozinski's claims, Sea Shepherd has not rammed a single Japanese whaling vessel. 

"The judge obviously has not seen the evidence or the facts; he's just making an opinion based on his own personal prejudices," he said.

Earlier, Japanese whalers from the Institute of Cetacean Research filed legal action in the US to stop the Sea Shepherd’s anti-whaling activism. But District Judge Richard Jones sided with the activists, leading to a ruling by a three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the original decision and criticized Jones.

The Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker (C) sandwiched between Japanese whaling ship Nisshin Maru (L) and whaling fleetТs fuel tanker. (AFP Photo)

The ruling will allow Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research to pursue legal action in the US against the Sea Shepherd’s activism. Even though whaling is illegal in Australian waters, the Sea Shepherd activists have no right to initiate a standoff, Kozinski said: “It is for Australia, not Sea Shepherd, to police Australia's court orders.”

The US ruling also criticized Jones, stating that he was “off base” when arguing that the protesters' tactics were nonviolent because they did not target people, just ships and equipment: “The district judge's numerous, serious and obvious errors identified in our opinion raise doubts as to whether he will be perceived as impartial in presiding over this high-profile case.”

The case will now be transferred to another judge.

The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin smoke stacks billowing steam after Japanese whalers and militant conservationists clashed dangerously in icy waters off Antarctica. (AFP Photo)

For the past few weeks, the activists’ ships have been in a standoff with Japanese whaling vessels in the Southern Ocean. Sea Shepherd activists have also blockaded the Japanese ships from refueling at the Sun Laurel tanker ship.

Both sides have accused each other of damaging vessels during the standoff. The activists also claimed that the Japanese whalers have been using water cannons and stun grenades against them, and that Japan has deployed a military icebreaker to threaten them.

Japan has denied the reports; Australia is currently taking legal action against the country for its whaling activities.

Sea Shepherd vessels are known for chasing down Japanese whalers to disrupt their annual hunt and prevent the mammals from being killed. They set sail from Australia, and try to block or attack Japanese whaling vessels.

Whaling for commercial purposes has been banned for the past 25 years, but Japan still sends ships on annual hunts. Tokyo has argued that such hunts are for scientific research only, which is permitted by an international treaty, but several media reports have indicated that the Japanese hunts have no scientific value.

The Nisshin Maru (R) firing water cannons at the Sea Shepherd ship Steve IrwinТs smoke stack as Japanese whalers and militant conservationists clashed dangerously. (AFP Photo)

A photo taken from the Japanese whaling ship Nisshin Maru of Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker. (AFP Photo)


Comments (14)

 

carlos Rivera 14.06.2014 21:44

...it's a shame that my country which is the same one that screams to the top of their lungs justice, equality and freedom doesn't extend it's arm to protect those that have been entrusted to our care as humans... those who can't defend themselves. Turning a blind eye(as usual when somehow it turns to be convenient due to political alliances and false ideologies) let them be reminded
that the whole world knows and is aware of your hypocrisy!... and it's also watching your every wrong decision inside and out.

 

John D. Cassidy 14.06.2014 21:11

ridiculous. of course America would mess this up. hope this somehow gets reversed. we should be sinking these japanese ships anyway.

 

Billy 17.05.2014 11:39

Those first comments are surely from a paid troll, or a dumb person. Longe live Sea Shepherd ! We (the normal persons) are with you, and you are winning! Last whaler's quota was like 1035 and they killed "only" 130 or so because of Sea Shepherd! Keep up the good work!

View all comments (14)
Add comment

Authorization required for adding comments

Register or

Name

Password

Show password

Register

or Register

Request a new password

Send

or Register

To complete a registration check
your Email:

OK

or Register

A password has been sent to your email address

Edit profile

X

Name

New password

Retype new password

Current password

Save

Cancel

Follow us

Follow us