Institute of Cetacean Research sea shepherd

Pirate Label or Not, Sea Shepherd Still in Hot Pursuit

Mike Schuler
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March 6, 2013

The Sea Shepherd vessel, Bob Barker (front), comes to collision distance from Japanese tanker Sun Laurel in the Antarctica, taken and released by the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) February 20, 2013. Credit REUTERS/The Institute of Cetacean Research/Handout

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says that they are once again in hot pursuit of the Japanese Institute for Cetacean Research fleet as they return to the Southern Ocean whaling grounds after retreating north earlier this month.

Sea Shepherd, which was recently labeled as nothing more than a gang of pirates by a U.S. appeals court, says that a tracking device they implanted on the whale researchers refueling tanker, the Sun Laurel, has indicated that the fleet is returning south to the whaling grounds with just a few days left in the whaling season.

“The Steve Irwin will follow the Bob Barker back to the Southern Ocean to intercept the whaling fleet,” Sea Shepherd said in a statement. “The Bob Barker has changed course and is once again in pursuit of the whaling fleet.”

So are we in for one more grand confrontation this season? We’re not sure, but we have the popcorn out.

As far as Sea Shepherd’s response to the piracy label, let’s just say they aren’t buying it and that fight isn’t over yet.

“Clearly, this is a bad decision by the Ninth Circuit Court, but not unexpected,” said Scott West, Director of Intelligence & Investigations for Sea Shepherd U.S. “But it’s an opinion; everyone has one. We happen to agree with Judge Jones’ (the original judge that ruled in favor of Sea Shepherd) very well articulated and reasoned opinion on the matter,” he stated.

“Beyond that, the vitriolic and grandstanding manner in which the Ninth Circuit rendered its opinion makes us seriously doubt their qualifications for making a just decision. This court is part of the problem, not the solution. Not only is there no room for such a biased and unprofessional legal opinion, they somehow have the audacity to throw a highly respected, honored judge — one of their own — under the bus in order to side with foreign interests. Is this a decision of an American court or have we somehow mistakenly landed in Japan?” West added.


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