Sea Shepherd’s sixth campaign, production on Whale Wars’ third season, start today

The Sea Shepherd crew is heading to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in the Antarctic to engage with Japanese whalers, and with them will be camera crews for the show’s third season.

The Sea Shepherds have a new weapon for their campaign, which they’re calling Operation Waltzing Matilda: the Ady Gil, a super-fast trimaran that the organization says it plans to use “to intercept and physically block the harpoon ships from illegally slaughtering whales.” That ship will join the Steve Irwin.

Despite the new technology, we can probably also expect some bumbling incompetence from captain Paul Watson and his volunteer crew, who I think have the moral high ground but keep us entertained and engaged by screwing up, although with increasingly risky consequences.

Also today, the New Zealand Herald reported that “New Zealand, Australia and the Netherlands took the unusual step yesterday of issuing a joint condemnation of the Japanese whaling fleet which has left for the Southern Ocean” that “called on both the whalers and protesters to exercise restraint because the capacity to send assistance to the Southern Ocean was low.” Here’s the full statement:

“The Governments of Australia, The Netherlands and New Zealand remain resolute in our opposition to so-called ‘scientific’ whaling. We are deeply disappointed at the recent departure of the Japanese whaling fleet for the Southern Ocean.

Over the past years we have strongly conveyed our opposition at ministerial as well as at the diplomatic level, in bilateral meetings and in multilateral fora such as the International Whaling Commission (IWC).

We are aware that the coming season’s anticipated Japanese whaling activities in the Southern Ocean are once again likely to attract protest, including through the despatch of the Dutch-registered Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel, the Steve Irwin, and the New Zealand-registered vessel, the Ady Gil.

Our governments respect the right of individuals and groups to protest peacefully, including on the high seas. At the same time, we do not condone – indeed we condemn – dangerous or violent activities, by any of the parties involved, be it demonstrators or whalers.

Our governments expect any unlawful activity to be dealt with in accordance with relevant international and domestic laws.

The Southern Ocean is a remote and inhospitable region where the risk of adverse incidents is high and the capacity for rescue or assistance is low. Our Governments jointly call upon all parties to exercise restraint and to ensure that safety at sea is the highest priority.

This summer Australia, in cooperation with New Zealand, will be leading major whale research in Antarctica, which is designed to answer the most pressing research needs for whale conservation and which uses the most sophisticated non-lethal scientific techniques.

Australia, The Netherlands and New Zealand are participating in a diplomatic process on the future of the IWC and continue to believe that diplomacy offers the best prospects for advancing whale conservation.”

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