Japanese whalers hurl stun grenades at Sea Shepherd

01/12/2012
By

TOKYO (majirox news) — Crewmen aboard the Japanese Fisheries Protection vessel Shonan Maru 2 on Jan. 11, raised the ante of violence by hurling stun grenades at Sea Shepherd crew members who were dogging the whalers in an inflatable boat. The incident happened in the frigid seas off Antarctica, where Sea Shepherd has been trying to to interfere with Japanese whalers who kill whales in the name of “scientific research.”

According to Slate magazine, “Stun grenades create an intense flash — as bright as 1 million candles burning at once, along with a boom that registers at upwards of 175 decibels.” Supposedly, victims of stun grenades are both blinded and deafened for five seconds, but the magazine says that some people report hearing and vision loss for days afterwards.

“Soldiers who use stun grenades are advised to wear earplugs and visors as well as taking cover once the device has been thrown,” the magazine noted. Though now a standard item in both military and police arsenals, particularly for use in hostage situations, stun grenades have already been responsible for the deaths of two people.

The Japanese Coast Guard reported that a Sea Shepherd inflatable boat was attempting to disrupt whaling and two members of the Guard threw stun grenades at them in an attempt to drive them off. Two Sea Shepherd boats approached the Japanese whalers at around 11 a.m. and continued their harassing action for more than an hour, including dragging a rope near the Shonan Maru 2 in what the Japanese Coast Guard saw as an attempt to foul the ship’s propellers.

After the Sea Shepherd boat refused to heed warnings issued over a bullhorn to veer off, the crewmen aboard the Shonan Maru 2 threw two stun grenades at the boats. The Japanese Coast Guard claims that though this was the first time on this particular research voyage that stun grenades had been thrown at Sea Shepherd boats, they have used them a number of times before.

The portion of the Southern Ocean where Japanese “research whaling” takes place is within the Australian-claimed exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and Australia currently has a case before the International Court of Justice in The Hague seeking a stop to whaling there. Although the Japanese are sensitive about any foreign economic operations in their own EEZ, such as by Chinese or Korean fishing boats, they appear to believe that they operate under a different standard when it comes to fishing within Australia’s EEZ.

The Southern Ocean bordering Antarctica, where Japanese “research whaling” takes place, is one of the most storm-driven and dangerous oceans in the world. Under these conditions, the use by the Japanese of potentially fatal weapons to drive off anti-whaling protestors marks what many would consider a dangerous and unnecessary escalation, in a dispute where there is little sympathy for their side.

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42 Responses to Japanese whalers hurl stun grenades at Sea Shepherd

  1. Fran on 01/12/2012 at 8:40 pm

    The Japanese have gone too far with this. Someone is likely to get killed. I’m sickened & disgusted that the money we paid in donations to help the Japanese earthquake victims was re-routed to the illegal whaling mission in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary in our territorial waters. Japan attempted to invade Australia in WWII; they bombed Darwin. So having armed vessels in our territorial waters not only breeches international treaties, but shows great disrespect for our country, & causes distress to those who suffered through the bombing. Illegal whaling in a whale sanctuary & then endangering the lives of those that protest, is simply evil. The Japanese whalers & their government which supports them, are shaming their whole country by allowing this barbaric & abusive behaviour to occur.

    • albert kleerekooper on 01/13/2012 at 12:55 am

      Worldwide anger about barbaric murdering of whales and dolphins is growing. Mobilisation of public opinion can force governments into action. Anyway japanese ambassadors worldwide should remarke a growing hate against Japan.

    • Barb on 01/13/2012 at 5:50 am

      I am disheartened to hear this news. Not only are people’s lives at risk here, but this is happening inside Australia’s EEZ. The Aussie government must be so far up the butt of the Japanese government that they have been made totally ineffectual. It is unconscionable that the Aussie government doesn’t fight the whalers themselves and not leave it to Sea Shepherd!

    • LeonardGreene on 01/13/2012 at 7:51 am

      Fran, the money wasn’t from donations it was Japanese tax money, so you can stop being sickened & disgusted.

      • warren patterson on 01/13/2012 at 9:30 am

        the japanese just take any notice of anyone just to upset everyone me Iamagainst whaleing as we in albany shut down our
        whaleing fleet back in 1984 because of lack of numbers plus when there gone there gone thats whot the japan needs to understand as god put them there in the first place. so theres no need to slughter them needulse, as they are a fish but I still get cranky with needles slaughter.

        • Shamber on 01/17/2012 at 12:29 pm

          Whales are not fish. They are sentient mammals.

      • Marcus on 01/14/2012 at 6:54 am

        Leonard….Tatsuya Nakaoku, the Fisheries Agency official in charge of whaling, told Japanese Media that the funds had been necessary in order provide extra security for the whaling fleet,
        Japan took 2.28 billion yen ($29.4 million USD) that was raised and earmarked to help victims of the Japanese tsunami disaster, and used that money to beef up military security for the Japanese Antarctic whaling fleet, in order to combat Sea Shepherd volunteers. This is common knowledge and tons of articles can be found if you just take the time and google it. Regards Marcus

        • LeonardGreene on 01/14/2012 at 6:59 pm

          Marcus…the money came from the Japanese government not from donations. Now the articles were correct in the fact that the government funds were to help the people and businesses in the areas affected by the tsunami, and guess what? The whaling industry and its employees are in the affected area. So the use of the funds to rebuild the industry and provide for the continued employment is perfectly in keeping with the intended use of the funds.

          Oh, and you might want to stop believing everything you read on the internet, especially at commercial news sites that want to maximize the number of views. And you might notice that most of those articles have virtually the exact same wording because they all came from the same source.

    • Truth Broker on 01/13/2012 at 8:27 am

      You’re kidding right? You can’t possibly be that ignorant. First, the Japanese are not using ANY earthquake donations to fund their whaling operation. The Japanese government is subsidizing the research whaling, and the donation funds are separate from any government funds. Stop believing the hype and lies spread by the Sea Shepherds. Secondly, if you’re so upset that stun grenades might kill someone, where’s your outrage over the Sea Shepherds’ repeated attempts to foul the prop of the whaling vessels, which would leave them powerless and stranded in the middle of “one of the most storm-driven and dangerous oceans in the world. ” Do you have any idea what would happen to the crew of a ship with no power, if an Antarctic storm came up? No ability to turn into the waves? Open your mind, read both sides of the story, and stop being so gullible.

      • Kris on 01/14/2012 at 12:19 am

        Well actually, Truth Broker, the Sea Shepherds would never leave them stranded as they have in the past, as they are obligated to do so, stood by the Japanese during a mayday call offering assistance repeatedly. And when there was news that a Japanese whaler had fallen overboard a few years back, the Sea Shepherds offered assistance in the search.
        There are some ignorant comments here, yes, but don’t make Sea Shepherds out to be the enemy. They are only protecting endangered species. It is a barbaric act to kill a whale in the manner they do so. If we slaughtered cows and pigs the way a whale dies, we would be so up in arms about it. We want to make sure our burgers and chicken breasts are brought to our plates by no inhumane means, yet if you have ever seen a whale killed, there is nothing humane about it. They are harpooned and then shot repeatedly because the men shooting at them have no aim on a shaky boat in the middle of a violent ocean, and then eventually the whale drowns, rarely dying from the wounds inflicted on it by its killer. It is a slow and painful death for them. It is a death we don’t even inflict on our most nefarious criminals. And we are not talking about natives in cold climates that need whale meat to survive, these are money hungry monsters, destroying a beautiful species purely for profits. Sea Shepherds should continue what they are doing until this disgusting and historically environmentally detrimental practice comes to an end.

        • LeonardGreene on 01/14/2012 at 7:05 pm

          If you remember that incident where the SSCS ‘offered’ help, they first had a discussion about if they should use the opportunity to attack the fleet.

          If cows and pigs weighed 7 tons and swam in the ocean then our current method of slaughtering them wouldn’t work.

          Most whales dies instantly from the explosive harpoon. But for some reason anti-whalers like to rely on decades old data because current data doesn’t fit their attempts to demonize the industry.

          Oh and Minke whales aren’t endangered.

      • Marcus on 01/14/2012 at 7:01 am

        Oh and most ships have Sea Anchors, which will hold your ship into the waves. I know Sea Shepherd has them. And the Japanese have plenty of Vessels that can tow another Harpoon ship home. Its something id love to see.

        • LeonardGreene on 01/14/2012 at 7:07 pm

          Sea anchors aren’t designed for 20+ foot seas and Antarctic storm conditions. And can you explain to me how a sea anchor is going to help them avoid floating ice that can crush their hull?

    • dave swank on 02/02/2012 at 8:21 am

      What i think should happen is since ww2 we told japan they couldent have military like personal leave its own territory because of peril harbor. But can have a military to protect its own borders only. They should be told to back off with the security vessels. If they dont the contries that took japans powers away have in my opinion an obligation to escort the military type vehicle back to its own waters. If they dont should be in direct violation of the aggrement from 1948. And use of force from the security vehicles should be considered an act of piracy on the open seas. Sea shepherd uses non-violent tactics and so should japan.Because japan dont want to open the whole can of worms by being violent because if its ok for japan it means it is also ok for the sea shepherd crew. So paul get some flashbangs and some hooks on a chain and have fun man. Because in open waters there is a law and if ja[pan hasent broke tem yet with everything they have done you should be in the clear. And when japan complains just say you learned by example and thank them for the very helpful tactics and new set of rules.

  2. Andre on 01/13/2012 at 12:31 am

    The Japanese whalers are going after endangered Fin whales for supposed harvest research. With numbers reduced down to 1-5% of their original numbers can somebody in Japan tell me what this supposed research is trying to accomplish? The only research involved here is what side dish taste better with whale as the main course. It is foolish to think that the world will stand by and let Japanese owned fishing organizations drive the last of whales and tuna off the face of the earth. Just what gives these people the right to drive a species extinct?

    • LeonardGreene on 01/14/2012 at 7:37 am

      And they have caught 14 fin whales since 1990. Less than 1 whale per year is not going to cause problems.

  3. Terry on 01/13/2012 at 12:35 am

    “Under these conditions, the use by the Japanese of potentially fatal weapons to drive off anti-whaling protestors marks what many would consider a dangerous and unnecessary escalation,”

    What about the use of the “prop foulers” by the SSCS which are intended to disable the Japanese vessels, putting the entire crew in danger?
    What about the use of glass bottles filled with butyric acid, which have the potential to injure or blind the Japanese crew, not to mention getting hit by the glass bottle itself with could cause injury or death?

    ” I’m sickened & disgusted that the money we paid in donations to help the Japanese earthquake victims was re-routed to the illegal whaling mission in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary in our territorial waters.”

    Donation money IS NOT being used to fund whaling. The money comes from TAX MONEY paid by Japanese citizens. The “donation” story is a LIE told by the leader of the SSCS Paul Watson.

    Japanese whaling is NOT illegal. Scientific research whaling is allowed in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The area that the Japanese are whaling in is international waters. Australia opted to not have their claim of an EEZ off of Antarctica acted upon by the UN.

    • Marcus on 01/14/2012 at 7:06 am

      Tatsuya Nakaoku, the Fisheries Agency official in charge of whaling, told Japanese Media that the funds had been necessary in order provide extra security for the whaling fleet,
      Japan took 2.28 billion yen ($29.4 million USD) that was raised and earmarked to help victims of the Japanese tsunami disaster, and used that money to beef up military security for the Japanese Antarctic whaling fleet, in order to combat Sea Shepherd volunteers. This is common knowledge and tons of articles can be found if you just take the time and google it. And Sea Shepherd members are told not to shoot bottles anywhere near Japanese crew. But Japanese crew do sometimes get out on deck with hand held nets trying to catch the bottles and throw them back on occasion. I wouldnt think its too dangerous if they are willing to do this.

      • LeonardGreene on 01/14/2012 at 7:08 pm

        Marcus…the money came from the Japanese government not from donations. Now the articles were correct in the fact that the government funds were to help the people and businesses in the areas affected by the tsunami, and guess what? The whaling industry and its employees are in the affected area. So the use of the funds to rebuild the industry and provide for the continued employment is perfectly in keeping with the intended use of the funds.

        Oh, and you might want to stop believing everything you read on the internet, especially at commercial news sites that want to maximize the number of views. And you might notice that most of those articles have virtually the exact same wording because they all came from the same source.

  4. Steve on 01/13/2012 at 2:28 am

    Has anyone asked why Japan’s annual whale goal/quota is so high if it is just for “research??” I am also sad my donation was diverted from helping tsunami victims to victimizing whales!

    • LeonardGreene on 01/13/2012 at 6:41 pm

      No one needs to ask why their quota (it is not a goal) is ‘so high’, they Japanese fully explain the statistics behind the numbers they use. Anybody who is really interested in the facts can read it for themselves. And after reading it you can point out any problems with the science behind their statistics. But in the past few decades no one has shown anything wrong with their math.

  5. Steve on 01/13/2012 at 3:22 am

    What would happen if one of these stun gernades went off in the Sea Shepherd inflatable boat? Could it cause damage to the boat, or ignite a fuel tank?

  6. Alison on 01/13/2012 at 4:31 am

    The behaviour of the Japanese whalers AND Japanese government disgust me. They think they break international laws and get away with it, just who do they think they are? I boycott Japan and until whaling/cetacean hunts stop I shall never give my hard earned money to anything that is Japanese. The world is watching you Japan. Don’t you realise how much mercury is in the meat of these animal. You are allowing your own people to be poisoned. #genocide

  7. Omar Haleem on 01/13/2012 at 6:04 am

    This is unbelievable, I totally think they should consider their overall global image when they acting out violent episodes like this. Stun Grenades?. Japan is not at war with conservationists now is it?. These are people who wish to help save Japan from their inhumanity. When will your government realize that even your youth doesn’t support this practice anymore?. I hope that they will have some sense and be aware that they are being watched by the entire world. Think about it, if any one from the Emperor’s household were to see these reports in the press, wouldn’t it make them all lose face?. Japan has a long history for spirituality and that it seems is sadly lost in todays Japanese, they only have greed for money and no sense about their duty and obligations towards what EMperor Meiji called the Winds of the 4 directions coming form the same womb..understand that you have to evolve into a saner more humane society and connect with these gentle creatures in order to evolve into humanists. This is a sad day for Japan..:(..and i thought you had Ninja’s on board, Ninja’s are supposed to use Shurikens not stun grenades!!..like my jewish friend would say “SHAME OF YOU!!”

  8. LeonardGreene on 01/13/2012 at 7:52 am

    The Australian claimed EEZ is just that claimed, it is not recognized by the majority of the world. And their court case specifically says that it has nothing to do with their claimed EEZ.

    • Eric Bloodaxe on 01/13/2012 at 10:51 am

      Under the law of the sea, an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is a seazone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources, including production of energy from water and wind[1]. It stretches from the seaward edge of the state’s territorial sea out to 200 nautical miles from its coast. In casual usage, the term may include the territorial sea and even the continental shelf beyond the 200-mile limit.

      Australia has the third largest exclusive economic zone, behind the United States and France, but ahead of Russia, with the total area actually exceeding that of its land territory. As per the UN convention, Australia’s EEZ generally extends 200 nautical miles (370 km) from the coastline of Australia and its external territories, except where a maritime delimitation agreement exists with another state.[12]

      The United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf confirmed, in April 2008, Australia’s rights over an additional 2.5 million square kilometres of seabed beyond the limits of Australia’s EEZ.[1

  9. Camilla Ryals on 01/13/2012 at 8:11 am

    It is deeply disturbing to learn that such behaviour is taking place on these waters. It greatly angers me that in the attempt to stop the slaughter of these creatures brutal retaliation is conducted. The Japanese have taken it too far. Laws need to be implemented to ensure the safety of all earthlings in this arena.

    • LeonardGreene on 01/13/2012 at 6:36 pm

      Such laws do exist and the Sea Shepherds are breaking them. While a vessel on the high seas that is attacked by another vessel has the right to defend themselves, they are actually allowed to use deadly force. So the Japanese are legally allowed to do what they are doing and are actually showing restraint.

  10. Simon on 01/13/2012 at 1:26 pm

    This is sad to hear. I thought the Japanese were keeping their cool remarkably well. But it seems SS provocation has not only roused the ire of the politicians (who sit at home and posture, by providing them with a 400% bonus, specifically to fight SS obstruction) but also the men on the scene. Perhaps it’s because this year they have Coast Guard Personnel aboard, who have a more military idea of how to handle SS.

    Re: Steve on 01/13/2012 at 2:28 am
    >>Has anyone asked why Japan’s annual whale goal/quota is so high if it is just for “research??” <>I am also sad my donation was diverted from helping tsunami victims to victimizing whales!<<

    As pointed out by others, this is a total fiction.
    Donations go to NGOs.
    Taxes pay for whaling.
    Would you like to read the relevant portion of the budget announcement?

    http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5741710/My%20whaling%20articles%20public/JARPA%20budget.pdf

    If you have been taken in by SS hype on tis topic you may also have read that "they don't hide the fact that the meat finds its way to restaurants". This frequently repeated line too is misleading: IWC rules require that the whole carcass be utilised to prevent waste (such as was practised when whales were caught only for their oil).

  11. Louise Mills on 01/13/2012 at 7:59 pm

    @ Terry and Simon – If it is untrue that some of the Government’s Earthquke Recovery Fund has gone to whaling research (which could be to rebuild whaling ports, research facilites, whale meat processing plants, increasing whaling research boat security measures etc. etc.), then how have these news reports been able to be aired on major news stations?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0L9vbaeQ8t8&feature=player_embedded

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVXLlFCmLFs&feature=related

    Note how in the Greenpeace interview, video footage shows the whale meat wrapped in plastic bags and packed in polystyrene insulation boxed with Marine Foods printed on the outside, so it looks very much like this meat is due to be sold as food.

    @Terry, I must admit that I have to agree with you about the SS’s actions in trying to foul the propeller and rudder with ropes, as whilst I don’t agree with whaling, rendering a ship incapable to steer or move is a completely dangerous thing to do in unpredictable deep sea open waters. As for throwing butyric acid onboard, well they only obtain this from rancid butter. It’s hardly comparable to the stun grenades that can deafen, blind and burn people that come into contact with them. The worst part of the butyric acid stink bombs is the glass bottles, which admittedly I do gringe at because of course someone could get knocked out or injured quite seriously by the impact or from lacerations from broken glass. I wish that a less dangerous container was used as the contents is harmless enough, but causes enough distruption and inconvenience to make the whalers think again about thier actions. Can I suggest anyone interested in knowing more about what is going on out there to watch this: http://animal.discovery.com/videos/whale-wars-butyric-acid-stink-bombs.html. There are many other video’s about what both sides are up to there to get an informed idea of it all.

    I’ve also found this site very interesting in answering many of my questions: http://www.whaling.jp/english/qa.html. When reading it, please keep an open mind to both parties. There are some bits that I agreed with and others I don’t. Please remember that the Japan Whaling Association is going to biased in what is says on there. For example this statement with regards to why the International Whaling Commission established “The moratorium was achieved by anti-whaling groups like Greenpeace recruiting into the IWC many countries that had nothing to do with whaling, thus giving the anti-whaling forces the majority they needed.” tried to make is seem unfair that non-whaling countries are part of the IWC, however if the IWC was solely formed of whaling countries alone, then of course it would be biased in favour of the continuance of whaling, so that is a rediculous statement to publish.

    I don’t get why non-lethal methods of research can’t be made by Japan. I know on the above site it says that the earplugs ovaries are needed, but I am sure enough data can be obtained without these parts. DNA analysis could be undertaken by just taking a small tissue sample from the whales instead of completely killing them surely? AS for population numbers, survey counts could be done using sonar and visual checks that wouldn’t even need to interferre with, so this all seems like whitewashing to me. How does killing a small number of whales yearly help to improve their breeding levels and population numbers exactly? I’m a wildlife conservationist who studied marine biology as one of my modules and I really don’t this at all.

  12. Gureisug on 01/14/2012 at 2:22 am

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/world/japan-confirms-tsunami-and-earthquake-disaster-funds-used-for-whaling/story-e6frev00-1226216751603

    For all of you who don’t believe Japan is using money that was raised for the Tsunami and Earthquake victims.

    • LeonardGreene on 01/14/2012 at 7:17 pm

      Gureisug

      Can you read English? And if so did you read your own link?

      “JAPAN has confirmed it plans to use some of the public funds earmarked for quake and tsunami reconstruction to boost security for its controversial annual whale hunt.”

      Hmm. Public funds would be tax money not donations.

      “Last month, Japan passed a 12.1 trillion-yen extra budget, the third this year, to finance reconstruction and revive an economy that is still reeling from the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

      About 498.9 billion yen was earmarked for fisheries-related spending, including 2.28 billion yen for “stabilising whaling research”.”

      Hmm. Again the article says the money came from the government budget not donations. And that it was to finance reconstruction and revive the economy in the affected areas. And guess what? The whaling industry is in the affected area and thus reconstructing the whaling industry is exactly they kind of thing the fund is designed for.

      So maybe you should try and find an article that supports your claim rather than this article which actually proves you wrong.

      • Louise Mills on 01/17/2012 at 5:17 am

        Actually LeonardGreen, if you watch this news report where a representative of Greenpeace is interviewed, he explains that whilst some whaling business was affected in the disaster stricken areas, most are no-where near:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVXLlFCmLFs&feature=related&noredirect=1

        • LeonardGreene on 01/17/2012 at 6:02 am

          So some are in the area. Thus those parts of the industry are eligible for rebuilding funds

  13. Stacey Bailey on 01/16/2012 at 7:21 am

    Support this – whaling is illegal in the whale sanctuary for anybody that choses to do it. Japan happens to be the country that is chosing to do it.

    • LeonardGreene on 01/16/2012 at 9:01 pm

      Sorry Stacey but you are wrong.

      Whaling in conformance with Article VIII of the IWC regulations is legal in the sanctuary.

    • Louise Mills on 01/17/2012 at 5:11 am

      Sorry Stacey but LeonardGreen is right. As the whaling is used for scientific research it is NOT illegal and they are allowed to catch whales from marine sanctuaries. I don’t like this fact, being a Wildlife Conservationist myself as it seems rediculous that this can go on in a marine sanctuary, but unfortuately that is the legislation and it is why they can get away with it. If we don’t like this, then maybe we need to protest to the IWC and those countries that set up and enforce the sanctuaries.

      This link answers a lot of questions about this topic: http://www.whaling.jp/english/qa.html. Give it a read.

  14. james anderson on 03/05/2012 at 11:37 am

    I think Paul Watson should sink their vessel. if i were Paul i would go full speed at their vessel and sink it. the Japanese say they are afraid of sea shepherds Because they have sunk other whaling vessels.

  15. Joe Wilson on 07/07/2012 at 11:47 am

    The SSCS uses violent actions against the fleet so they should expect violence to be used against them to protect the ships. Whet they do equals terrorist actions and illegal boarding s piracy.

    I’m not taking sides on if whaling s legal or not. My point is that SSCS and Watson have no legal standing to use vio,ence to further their cause. If the Australian government feels that their waters are being illegally fished then thy would be enforcing their own territorial waters.

    SSCS and Watson should be sunk the next ime that they initiate force against anty vessels.

    • Anonymous on 08/10/2012 at 12:57 pm

      Yeah, except SSCS doesn’t use violent tactics, the whalers are the ones that do.

  16. jim on 11/13/2012 at 7:03 am

    This is an amazing story, i love how these whales are dying and the i love the HUGE smiles on the japanese faces!!:)

  17. andrea on 12/29/2012 at 6:00 am

    how can they do this? why is the world standing by and allowing this to happen. Makes you wonder if the tsunami isn’t mother natures way of trying to eliminate people that destroy what the rest of the world is trying to preserve. disgusting bunch

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