Demand Japanese Whaling Ships Abide by International Law

Target: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe

Goal: Put an end to aggressive and unlawful behavior of Japanese whaling ships

Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd has reported that two of its boats patrolling the Southern Ocean have been rammed by Japanese whaling ships. Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson reports that, “They hit the Steve Irwin twice in the stern and then moved in on the Bob Barker, hitting it multiple times and slamming it into the side of the tanker.” The tanker in question was the Korean vessel Sun Laurel which the Japanese ships were attempting to refuel from (a direct breach of international law); Sea Shepherd had been blockading this fuel delivery in an attempt to halt illegal whaling activities. While the blockade had worked for nearly 48 hours, the arrival of the factory ship Nisshin Maru spelled the end of the blockade as the vessel—being some five times larger than Sea Shepherd’s boats—began ramming the Steve Irwin before forcing the Bob Barker into the side of the Sun Laurel .

Not satisfied with simply ramming the Sea Shepherd boats, the Japanese ships also used concussion grenades and water cannons directed at the anti-whaling activists—again, a direct breach of international law. This incident is the worst attack against Sea Shepherd since the 2010 sinking of the Ady Gil, in what was another confrontation with a whaling ship. Following the incident the whaling fleet retreated north with the Sea Shepherd fleet in pursuit. These attacks against Sea Shepherd in Australian waters are a direct violation of international law. Furthermore, the whaling activities themselves are in violation of the international moratorium on whaling.

Strongly against whaling, the Australian government is looking into the matter. But it is safe to say that their frustration with Japan’s whaling fleet is reaching a boiling point. Canberra has grown tired of Japanese incursions on its sovereign rights. Moreover, Canberra has filed legal action over Japan’s exploitation of a loophole in international law which allows ships to continue whaling activities under the guise of scientific research. Japan must abide by international law and refrain from illegal activities in other nations’ sovereign waters. Sign the petition below to show your support for halting illegal whaling activities for good.


Dear Prime Minister Shinzō Abe,

The illegal activities of your whaling fleet, and especially of the Nisshin Maru, are deplorable and must be stopped. It is a breach of international law for any of your vessels to engage in unprovoked attacks in another nation’s sovereign waters. Moreover, the use of concussion grenades and water cannons against activists is a breach of international law. The Nisshin Maru used both of these measures recently against Sea Shepherd’s boats in the Southern Ocean.

Furthermore, whaling is banned under international law. Japanese whaling fleets’ exploitation of a loophole allowing whaling activities for scientific research is disingenuous to say the least. Japan makes no secret of the fact that the whales are sold in Japanese markets for consumption at dinner tables. We demand that you stop illegal whaling, and illegal attacks against anti-whaling activist groups.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jamie Parker vis Flickr

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