Anti-whaling drive stepped up
Not-for-profit conservation group Sea Shepherd finished a nationwide tour to promote an upcoming anti-whaling campaign in Antarctic waters with an event in Exmouth recently.
On Sunday, October 2, Sea Shepherd Exmouth hosted an event at the Potshot Hotel for the Ocean Defence Tour, the last of nine events held across Australia, including one in Perth, to raise awareness and funds for the organisation’s upcoming Antarctic Whale Defence Campaign in the Southern Ocean.
Sea Shepherd Exmouth co-ordinator Grace Keast said the tour had all been leading up to the announcement of the new purpose-built Sea Shepherd vessel the Ocean Warrior, which will soon travel to Australia from the Netherlands.
Crew members will then steer it on to the Southern Ocean to seek out the Japanese whaling fleet and try to put a stop to their activities.
“The Ocean Warrior is the fastest vessel that Sea Shepherd has ever owned and was largely funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery,” Ms Keast said.
“The purpose of the Ocean Defence Tour was to raise funds to be able to fuel the ships to go on the campaign.”
The environmental event also gave the audience insights into the organisation’s past campaigns.
Sea Shepherd Captain Peter Hammarstedt spoke about two past Operation Icefish campaigns to combat illegal toothfish poaching in Antarctica by six vessels wanted by Interpol and dubbed The Bandit Six.
He said they had been big successes, resulting in the poachers being charged, fined and imprisoned.
Capt. Hammarstedt went on to speak about Japan continuing to flout the International Court of Justice ruling on the illegality of its whaling in the Southern Ocean.
“It has now been two years since that judgment in 2014 and the authorities are still failing to uphold the law,” Ms Keast said.
“It is therefore Sea Shepherd’s duty to go down to Antarctica to try to save the self-appointed quota of 333 minke whales from slaughter.”
“No promise is made that we will find the fleet or save all the lives, but we will try and one whale saved will be enough to make it worthwhile.”
New Sea Shepherd vessel the Ocean Warrior in port at Amsterdam.