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Home | Friday 22nd August 2008 | Issue 643

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Three hardy shipmates of a Sea Shepherd anti-whaling ship have found themselves placed on an international wanted list by Japan. Why these minor crew members have been singled out is a mystery, but Sea Shephard captain Paul Watson sees it as desperation after recent successes in obstructing illegal Japanese mammal-murdering activities. The last whaling season saw 550 minke whales killed out of a planned 850 (see SchNEWS 636).

The outlaws include one Briton, believed to be Daniel Bebawi, from Nottingham, and two Americans, all sought for their involvement in actions against the Kaiko Maru whaling ship in 2007.

Despite forensic proof, no admission is being made that the Kaiko Maru repeatedly rammed the activists' vessel, but police have at least dropped claims (widely and sensationally reported at the time of course) that Sea Shepherd crew tossed "acid" onto the deck. What was tossed was rotten butter - chemically defined as butyric acid in the same way orange juice is defined as citric acid. It is non-toxic, non harmful but very slippery and it stinks to high heaven. Although taking no legal action, the Japanese don't like a smelly boat - in 2008 they retaliated to these tactics with live bullets and concussion grenades. Captain Watson was struck in the chest with a bullet and was saved only by his Kevlar vest.

Meanwhile, preparations continue for this year's campaign, Sea Shepherd's fifth in Antarctic waters. The goal is to send two fast ships to the Southern Ocean with the purpose of continuously keeping the Japanese whaling fleet on the run.

"We intend to sink the Japanese fleet economically," said Captain Watson. "Our strategy is to prevent whales from being killed, to force Japan to spend money on fuel without killing whales. My crew and I will not watch whales die; we will not bear witness to the cruel slaughter of a single whale without risking our lives to prevent its unlawful and cruel murder..."

Battle on the high seas looks set to recommence from November - whether or not Interpol are on their tail.

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