Paul Watson, the infamous leader of the environmental extremist group Sea Shepherd, is once again quick to point the finger at anyone and anything other than himself, has accused Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard of “green lighting” Japan’s whale hunts with her failure to protect life and property within her nation’s borders. Following the collisions between Japan’s fleet and the activists’ ships this week, Gillard responded to Watson’s calls for naval assistance by questioning when Australia was given the role of policing the world’s oceans.
Prime Minister Gillard said that the Australian government did not have the power to send its own ships to get in between those of Japan and Sea Shepherd, and even doing so would put Australian lives at risk, a possible remark about the activist group’s habit of intentionally getting dangerously close to the whaling ships and trying to block their path. Watson has fired back, saying that Australia does have the authority to police the Southern Ocean, where Japan’s annual hunts take place, against pollution and illegal whaling, as well as to protect the nation’s citizens about the Australian-flagged Sea Shepherd ships.
“Australia sends ships to the Southern Ocean to rescue foreign yachtsmen yet they do not feel responsible for protecting Australian citizens,” Watson stated, adding, “This lack of action by Australia is really about giving a green light to Japan to increase their violence because they know they will get away with it.” The Australian government has long been a vocal opponent against Japan’s whaling activities under the bogus claims of “scientific research,” even attempting to take legal action against the country in 2010. So Watson‘s accusations of Gillard supporting the killing of whales don’t fly. It sounds more like Australia, while opposed to the unnecessary Japanese hunts, is also tired of putting up with Sea Shepherd’s dangerous stunts that put human lives at risk year after year, and do little to actually deter whaling.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has already said it will investigate Wednesday’s collisions between the two sides. While thankfully there was no loss of life or injuries reported, Sea Shepherd has accused Japan’s factory vessel, the Nisshin Maru, with “ramming” their ships, the Bob Barker and Steve Irwin, as they tried to prevent the whalers from refueling. Likewise, Japan’s Fisheries Agency has said the activists deliberately sailed into their path, leaving little chance of avoidance. Watson was quick to promote that Japan would have to call of this season’s hunt due to the collisions and minor damages to the ships, however the Fisheries Agency has dismissed that notion, stating their program would continue this year.[via Lakes Mail]