Amazingly enough, I've not ever seen a whale while underway. Thus I don't have the experience of such an encounter to report. We're approaching the Right Whale migration season in the north Atlantic, so maybe this year will be my year.
As to the television show "Whale Wars" and the actions of Sea Shepherd and the "Steve Irwin" and her crew, I have watched the series from beginning to end. With due consideration to the fact that we are seeing only what the program producers, editors, and programming directors at Animal Planet want
us to see, and the statement that I am not a maritime attorney, I will add following to the discussion:
1. If whales are being hunted/harvested in international waters, in violation of international treaties/quotas, isn't it up to the signing countries party to those treaties/quotas to enforce them and hold any violators, Japanese or otherwise, accountable for those violations?
2. The actions of the "Steve Irwin" crew in boarding the Japanese vessel are indeed an act of piracy
, regadless of what any "letter" carried by the boarding party represents or intends. How could it be otherwise? Additionally, "Steve Irwin" routinely moves dangerously close to the whaling vessels, creating risks of collision
and other hazardous situations. Such actions are at minimum an act of aggression; actual boarding seems to me to be an outright act of piracy
. The show has confirmed that the crew of "Steve Iriwn" carry no arrest or enforcement powers, and that Sea Shepherd does not operate under the sanction of any legal
and recognized government
in the international community. As such, I am confident they can not legally board or harrass any vessel in any waters without permission of the captain
or owners of that vessel without breaking international law. The fact the crew was not charged and prosecuted does not mean laws were not broken as the crew seems to believe - and the Japanese crews are fully entitled to defend their vessels against aggressive actions by another vessel, just as any of us would be.
3. As far as the "Steve Irwin" herself goes, that's another story entirely. Watching the repeated failings of the so-called "chain of command", the wanderings of crew on and off the bridge (not associated with watch keeping), drunken parties, and so on, it's safe to say I would not ever sail under the command of that captain and his officers.
4. Greenpeace has confirmed in several interviews and press releases that the actions of Sea Shepherd and the crew of "Steve Irwin" have been very damaging to progress made against whaling, legal
and illegal, not only by Greenpeace, but other environmental groups and agencies.
I want to be clear that I don't support illegal actions by any party. If the Japanese are whaling in accordance with agreements in place, and are keeping strict adherence to quotas, etc., then it seems to me that whether we agree or not, they are within their rights. If they are in violation of said agreements and quotas, then prosecute them and hold them accountable accordingly in a court of law or by other legally recognized processes. For me, the show "Whale Wars" has discredited Sea Shepherd as a responsible environmental organization.
Just my .02!