Lethal Research on the High Seas

Japan’s scientific research program gets a little more kinetic:

“Our small boats were attempting to slow down the Japanese harpoon vessel Yushin Maru No. 2, which is aggressively tailing the Steve Irwin,” Captain Paul Watson said on the Sea Shepherd website.

During the incident, he said American Brian Race was jabbed twice in the face with a bamboo pole, receiving lacerations above his right eye and on his nose.

South African Russell Bergh, a cameraman for cable television channel Animal Planet, was struck in the right arm and shoulder with an iron grappling hook, resulting in deep bruising.

Watson said French photographer Guillaume Collet was also hit in the right arm and shoulder by a grappling hook and injured.

Japan’s Fisheries Agency disputed the account, accusing the activists of starting the conflict by using ropes to try to disable the ship’s rudder and propeller and hurling at least 30 bottles containing paint.

My take is that the Sea Shepherds do at times provoke and play deadly chicken with the whalers.  However, if the Japanese are merely interested in research as they claim to be, the correct response is to exit the situation. Let. It. Go.

My Climate and Society professor had to run blacked out while taking core samples of the ocean floor off the coast of Somalia.  When I asked why they didn’t just carry guns, his response was, “because we’re scientists and we don’t do that.”

Side note: I am eminently pleased to read that Animal Planet is filming a fifth season of Whale Wars.  I was concerned they might not return to the Antarctic.



  1. […] mentioned in a previous post that one of my professors had to run a science ship at night with no lights on while drilling for […]

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