Japan Arrests Sea Shepherd Activist After Boarding Ship, Trying to Deliver Bill for Sunken Ship


That's the Ady Gil colliding with the Japanese vessel. Photo: Sea Shepherd.

I admit I'm sympathetic to Sea Shepherd's cause, but this all is just getting weirder and weirder: The latest is that the Japanese Coast Guard has arrested the captain of the sunken Ady Gil Pete Bethune. For the past month or so since Bethune boarded one of the Japanese whalers, and was subsequently captured, he has been held aboard the vessel as it sailed back to port.Why did Bethune board the whaler? To attempt a citizen's arrest on the captain of the Shonan Maru 2 and deliver a bill for $3 million for the destruction of the Ady Gil, which was sunk back in January in a collision with the whaler.

Now that he's been arrested, Bethune will be questioned by Japanese police, and could face a three-year prison term or a 100,000 yen fine ($1100) fine.

Not So Sure This One Was Well Thought Out
So why do I say it's just getting weirder and weirder? Well, head Sea Shepherd Paul Watson was quoted in The Guardian as to the motives of boarding the Shonan Maru 2:

It was deliberate. We are going to expose the illegality of the Japanese whale operation at every opportunity.

OK... I just fail to see how this publicity stunt actually exposes illegality of any kind, except perhaps the illegal boarding of the Japanese ship.

Trying to make a citizens arrest of the captain of a ship sailing in international waters, after boarding unasked is just absurd, even if the scientific pretensions of the Japanese whaling fleet are equally absurd. Trying to deliver a bill for the sunken ship? Equally absurd, even if perhaps damages are due.

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Tags: Activism | Japan