En­vi­ron­ment group to pay US$2.55 mil. to whalers

The China Post - - GUIDE POST -

A rad­i­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal group has agreed to pay US$2.55 mil­lion to Ja­panese whalers for breaching a U.S. court in­junc­tion to stay clear of their ves­sels in the Antarc­tic Ocean.

The United States-based Sea Shep­herd Con­ser­va­tion So­ci­ety and for­mer se­nior of­fi­cials of the group last week agreed to pay the sum to re­solve civil contempt charges against them in the U.S. Ninth Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals, court doc­u­ments showed.

The pay­ment will go to the In­sti­tute of Ce­tacean Re­search and Ky­odo Sen­paku, the two main bod­ies be­hind Ja­pan’s so-called “re­search” whal­ing pro­gram.

The Ninth Cir­cuit’s in­junc­tion pro­hib­ited Sea Shep­herd founder Paul Wat­son and any per­son act­ing with them from phys­i­cally at­tack­ing the ves­sels op­er­ated by the Ja­panese en­ti­ties in the South­ern Ocean or act­ing in a man­ner to en­dan­ger their nav­i­ga­tion.

The pre­lim­i­nary in­junc­tion, is­sued in late 2012, also bans the de­fen­dants from com­ing within 457 me­ters of the ves­sels.

But Sea Shep­herd boats were in­volved in high-seas con­fronta­tions with the whalers in early 2013.

Ja­panese au­thor­i­ties have pre­vi­ously de­scribed meth­ods used by Sea Shep­herd — such as block­ing the Ja­panese ships’ pro­pel­lers — as “ter­ror­ism.”

In De­cem­ber 2014, the U.S. court is­sued an opin­ion find­ing Sea Shep­herd, Wat­son and oth­ers in “contempt of the in­junc­tion.”

Ja­pan’s In­sti­tute of Ce­tacean Re­search (ICR) hailed the pay­ment, say­ing in a state­ment that it hopes the move would lead to the “pre­ven­tion of un­rea­son­able hin­drance to our re­search” for now and in the fu­ture.

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