Unlawful Detention of Sea Shepherd Flag Ship Continues While Whales Are Being Massacred In The Antarctic Ocean
Cape Town, 10 February 2006: The SEA SHEPHERD Conservation Societys flag ship, the Farley Mowat, remains incarcerated in Cape Town Harbour after being detained by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) upon arrival in Cape Town on 24 January, 2006, from her anti-whaling campaign in the Antarctic waters.
Neither SEA SHEPHERD nor the Farley Mowat has violated any South African laws or contravened any international regulations to warrant this detention.
The Farley Mowat has done nothing but hinder Japan in its illegal slaughter of whales, the same whales that many of us enjoy seeing along our coast, and on which the entire South African whale watching industry is built.
Despite not having presented a credible reason for the detention of the Farley Mowat, the detention order issued by SAMSA remains in force and the vessel incarcerated in the Cape Town harbour where it is moored at M-Berth, adjacent to the Cape Town Yacht Club.
To justify the detention SAMSA has variously alleged that the Farley Mowat is not in possession of the relevant safety certificates, that it is not in compliance with its Canadian registration requirements or that it is incorrectly registered by Canada, that it is not appropriately manned, or that it does not have adequate safety equipment on board. All of these allegations are factually incorrect and appear to be convenient constructs through which to justify the continued unlawful detention of the Farley Mowat.
In all of its activities, including its recent campaign against the illegal slaughter of whales by Japan in the Antarctic waters, SEA SHEPHERD upholds the United Nations Charter for the Protection of Nature, enforces regulations, and protects the marine environment.
SEA SHEPHERD is not a protest organization. The SEA SHEPHERD strategy is to intercept, intervene and prevent whaling and other illegal activities affecting marine life. This action-oriented approach is seen by some as unacceptable while harmless protests are condoned. However, protests alone have never saved the life of a single whale, allowing the slaughter to continue unhindered.
Placards and protests will not stop the greed driven massacres of whales nor the looming extermination of certain species of whales. Direct intervention, such as that undertaken by SEA SHEPHERD, does. This was again proven during the recent Antarctic Campaign where the Japanese Whalers abandoned their whaling activities as soon as SEA SHEPHERD appeared on the scene, and fled.
In the absence of any credible explanation for the ongoing detention of the Farley Mowat, it is assumed that its continued incarceration relates to the effectiveness with which it hindered the slaughter of whales by Japan in Antarctica during its recent Antarctica campaign.
During the current whaling season, which is still underway, Japan aims to massacre 935 Minke whales, 50 Fin whales, and 50 Humpback whales, ostensibly for scientific research purposes. During the next whale hunting season, which starts in late November, this self-imposed quota will be higher yet. This is irrespective of whether the whales are endangered, CITES listed, or not - the slaughter continues regardless.
SEA SHEPHERD appeals to the people of South Africa to intervene with the South African authorities to stop the unlawful detention of the Farley Mowat and to allow it to continue unhindered with its work of protecting the oceans.
By allowing this charade to continue our Government is seen by the international community to be in support of whaling and to be the pawns of Japan in this matter.
When the Farley Mowat is released from its current detention, SEA SHEPHERD intends to deploy the ship in the oceans around Southern Africa, where it will work to protect our marine resources from poaching by foreign vessels, prior to proceeding back to Antarctica in November 2006 to campaign against the 2006/7 Japanese whale slaughter.
South African citizens who want to join SEA SHEPHERD in its campaign to protect the oceans of Southern Africa can do so by:
SEA SHEPHERD will provide all volunteers with the requisite training and will assist with the refurbishing of suitable vessels where required.
Herbert Henrich: 083 454 7236
South African Representative
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society