Sea Shepherd Modern Day Pirates?

While Sea Shepherd can return to Australia proud in the knowledge the Japanese had their lowest whale haul in history this season, they are also returning to the possibility of an Australian Federal Police Raid.

According to The Mercury, recent disputes between Sea Shepherd and Japanese Whaling Vessel, Nisshin Maru, have resulted in the Japanese likely requesting a raid against the international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organisation. After a week of both parties pointing the finger (Sea Shepherd released video footage of Nisshin Maru ‘ramming’ their vessel, the Japanese retaliated by releasing footage indicating the opposite) the ocean based dispute now has the ring of a school-yard fight.

Although Nisshin Maru are able to site permits from The Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) for their “Antartic Whale Research Program” to back their behaviour, Sea Shepherd have no such permit to hide behind. In light of the anti-whaling campaigners tactics having recently reached new heights, their motives have come into question. Channel Ten’s Reality Check recently examined Sea Shepherd’s strategies, and questioned whether they were ‘modern day pirates.’ Certainly, Sea Shepherd’s aggressive looking cross-bones logo would incite such a claim.

Sea Shepherd Logo

Sea Shepherd’s logo incites a claim of the organisation being ‘modern day pirates’

A US Court has also forwarded this argument, according to New Zealands’s 3 News.

US federal appeals court have sided with Nisshin Maru following the Antarctic confrontation and have accused Sea Shepherd of being ‘modern day pirates’ Chief judge, Alex Kozinski, has deemed Sea Shepherd’s tactics inexcusable commenting that ramming ships, hurling acid and launching smoke bombs are the actions of a pirate “no matter how high-minded you believe your purpose to be.”

Whaling should undoubtedly be illegal in this day and age, however, violence on the seas has potential to inflame the situation. Certainly, notions of eye-patched pirates in battle on the ocean make us think of a famous quote by Gandhi: “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind” What do you think?

Anthony Ardern is Managing Director of Australia's premier whale watching company Whales in Paradise.

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