The Greenpeace ship Esperanza has stopped chasing the Japanese whaling factory ship the Nisshin Maru and is heading back to New Zealand.
Sea Shepherd 2nd Officer Peter Hammarstedt called Greenpeace Campaign Leader Karli Thomas on the Esperanza to request the position of the Nisshin Maru. She responded by saying that it was not necessary for Sea Shepherd to have the coordinates for the Nisshin Maru because the Oceanic Viking would continue documenting the activities of the factory ship to carry on the work that Greenpeace has been doing.
In other words, asked Mr. Hammarstedt, “You aren’t interested in Sea Shepherd preventing the killing of whales now that you’ve left?” Ms. Thomas responded by saying that Greenpeace had no intention of cooperating with Sea Shepherd and then hung up.
From the beginning of this campaign, Sea Shepherd has tried to cooperate with Greenpeace. Sea Shepherd provided coordinates to Greenpeace last year for the whalers and provided the coordinates to the catcher boats this year. Sea Shepherd also offered to share the Sea Shepherd helicopter with Greenpeace. All attempts to cooperate on a united front to protect whales have been rebuffed by Greenpeace.
“I really have to question just what is Greenpeace’s motivation in coming down here year after year,” said Captain Paul Watson. “Their campaigns are always more of the same, buzzing about in rubber boats, hanging banners and filming whales being killed. Things have changed dramatically since Sea Shepherd has been intervening. Whales don’t die when we show up. Instead the whalers run and they keep running. The whalers have never run from Greenpeace before and they were not running from them this year either. Even the whalers have admitted they have been running from the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin .”
What the general public is not aware of is the massive fund-raising advertising campaign that Greenpeace runs every year to raise millions of dollars for a campaign they spend only a fraction of that money on. In addition to television ads Greenpeace has bought the online advertising rights to major newspapers, to Google and other media sites. Whenever anyone clicks on a whale story up pops an ad asking for donations to be sent to Greenpeace.
“This is all well and good,” said Captain Paul Watson. “But with the amount of revenue Greenpeace is bringing in why are they leaving for the season? They should get up to the nearest port, fill up their fuel tanks and get back down to the Southern Ocean and continue their campaign. The whalers will be down here for another two months. Plenty of time to refuel and return. But they won’t do it. They have their pictures and they have their story and that is fuel enough to generate a fund-raising program for the rest of the year.”
If Sea Shepherd had the resources, the Steve Irwin would refuel and return but the annual Sea Shepherd budget of 2 million dollars is very small in comparison to the budget of Greenpeace which is in excess of one hundred million dollars.
“We will do everything we can with the resources we have but I can tell you this,” said Captain Watson. “If we had a fraction of the Greenpeace budget we will have two ships down here from the beginning of the whaling season until the end.
The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin continues to pursue the Japanese Catcher vessels in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The Japanese ship Fukuyoshi Maru No. 2 continues to tail the Steve Irwin to keep the fleet posted on the Steve Irwin’s position.
“Because of this spy vessel tailing us we will not be able to close in on the whalers but we can continue to chase them and keep them on the run and if they are running they won’t be whaling,” said Captain Watson.