In the last week, the difference between what we see and hear, here in the Ross Sea, and what we read in the news could not have been more stark. We are getting conflicting reports from the whaling fleet and from the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR), Mr Glenn Inwood, who is thousands of miles away on land. Dave and Sara on the Esperanza take a look at the truth and lies of Southern Ocean whaling.
Sakyo Noda (Japanese Campaigner) and Melanie Duchin (US Campaigner) on the bridge of the MY Esperanza.
"The normal whale research program ends around late March, so westill have three to four weeks left and the fleet is going to continuewith the work there,"
Mr Inwood has
been saying. He even told Radio New Zealand "we might even startwhaling again as soon as today".
"We" doesn't seem to include the whalers themselves. Yesterday,
our campaigner Sakyo spoke to the whaling fleet's expedition leader
via radio,and asked him if the fleet were starting whaling again -
the answer was no. He added that therewas still a lot of work to be
done on the ship. They have managed tostart the main engine, but
the winch is broken down - due to low oilpressure - and the ship
has yet to move under her own power.
"Having a laugh"
It is certainly not in anyone's interest to give any information,or correct information, to Greenpeace. They are not a signatory toanything down there. Maybe the skipper was just having a laugh,
" - Inwood to Radio New Zealand.
We might not be a signatory to anythingdown here, but Japan is
- to the
Antarctic Treaty. The Antarctic conditions are nolaughing
matter. Not only has one person lost their life, butwe've got a
drifting whaling factory ship, an environmental threat, anddozens
of crewmen working in the tough conditions of theRoss Sea. It seems
unlikely that thewhaling fleet's expedition leader, who is
currently trying to deal witha broken-down 8,000-ton ship, has
thetime and inclination to make up stories "for a laugh", not to
mention that the captain of the chaser ship the Yushin Maru told
Maritime New Zealand
the same thing.
"Absolutely no threat"?
Mr Inwood also likes to say that there is
absolutely no threat to the Antarctic environment from the Nisshin Maru.
Unfortunately, unlike the Esperanza, none of the Japanese whaling
fleet is "iceclass" - meaning they are not are built to deal with
severe seaice conditions.
Not recognising a potential "threat" to the pristineAntarctic
environment that could be sparked off by some adverse
weatherconditions leaves Mr Inwood looking a little short on
hisunderstanding of geography, meteorology and physics. There's a
reported 1,000 tons of oil on board the stranded factoryship. Also
with the fleet is a single-hulled fuel tanker, the Oriental Bluebird,
flagged toPanama, that has not filed an Environmental Impact
Assessment inaccordance with the Antarctic Treaty.
Environmental Impact Assessments
Actually, none of the vessels inthe whaling fleet
have submitted environmental impact assessments(EIA). Because the
whaling fleet claims that it is only answerable to theInternational
Whaling Commission, it doesn't follow Antarctic Treatyprocedure.
One such procedure is the Madrid Protocol, which subjects all
activities taking place in the Treatyarea to prior scrutiny for how
they might affect the environment here - including through fires
like the one on the Nisshin Maru.
Japan is party to both the Antarctic Treaty and theMadrid
Protocol, so it seems strange that the Japanese governmentdoesn't
require its whaling fleet to submit EIAs. Especially considering
is not a whaling ship and therefore not even exempt from the
We know what we see and hear, and we know what Mr Inwood is
reportedto have said and put out in his own press releases - we
leave you todecide who is bearing witness to the truth.
For an even more detailed look at Glenn Inwood and ICR spin, see
Dave & Sara's assessment on the Esperanza weblog.
Ask the Japanese government to do the right thing and get the Nisshin Maru out of the Antarctic Treaty area now
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