Investigate Violent Conflict Between Dutch and Japanese Ships

Target: Netherlands Public Prosecutor’s Office

Goal: Settle matters between Japanese whaling ships and Dutch conservationists in order to end law-breaking violence from both sides

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is a group which has used its resources to campaign against what it views as illegal whaling by Japanese ships, mostly by using methods that keep the ships moving constantly, preventing them from capturing whales or refueling. Their goal stems from a global moratorium on whaling which went into effect in 1986, making all whaling illegal. However, the International Whaling Commission allows what is termed “lethal research whaling” under the conditions that any whales killed for research are used in their entirety. As such, the Japanese continue whaling practices under the banner of science while the remains are consumed commonly in Japanese meals and markets.

Recently, these opposing views turned into life-threatening conflict. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society tells its side of the story which explains that Japanese vessel Nisshin Maru became “frustrated” after being barred from refueling at Australian ports, forcing the Japanese to use a contracted tanker. At this point, they “attacked” Sea Shepherd ships the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker by ramming them, using water cannons to flood their engine, and utilizing explosives. This resulted in the Bob Baker sending a distress call until it was able to repair its engine room. Sea Shepherd asserts that all of its anti-whaling methods may be agitating, but legal and non-lethal.

The Japanese, however, state that they were merely abiding by common whaling research regulations. When they attempted to refuel from the tanker, the Steve Irwin, Bob Baker, and San Simon all “repeatedly forced their way” between the Nisshin Maru and the tanker causing damage and the potential for stranding. They say their retaliation was a result of harmful sabotage. An injunction from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has in fact ordered that Sea Shepherd founding president Paul Watson, who was onboard the Steve Irwin at the time, give up his position.

Regardless of who is correct in the matter, what is clear is that the lives in danger now include not only whales but those of working humans. The Netherlands Public Prosecutor’s Office should conduct a full and thorough investigation of both sides, not because Sea Shepherd originally asked them to punish the Japanese, but because these modes of violence cannot be tolerated in any industry. If there is a possibility that the Dutch are putting lives at risk, then they need to be held just as accountable as the Japanese should be for violent retaliation and illegal whaling.


Dear Netherlands Public Prosecutor’s Office,

Recently, several vessels belonging to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and those of the Japanese research whaling community came into a conflict which escalated to levels of unnecessary and life-threatening violence.

You have previously been asked to look into this matter by Sea Shepherd, citing the endangerment of Dutch crew members as reasons for enacting punishment upon the Japanese who are allegedly engaging in illegal whaling. However, the differing sides of the story, in addition to an injunction from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals against the Sea Shepherd founding president who was present at the conflict, should be enough to warrant an investigation into both sides.

Regardless of who is more at fault in the matter, it is clear that both the Japanese and the Dutch are utilizing life-threatening methods against each other which now brings into question more than just the lives of whales. This is the second time you have been asked to take part in settling such a conflict. Please, we ask you to do so now more than ever so that both sides can be held accountable for irresponsible action. Doing so will not only protect whales, but those of our seafaring human peers.


[Your Name Here]

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