No Honor Among Thieves
There is no honor among thieves – anonymous
After reading the previous post on Japan’s presentation on Safety at Sea, I hope your interest is piqued about which nations rushed over to Japan’s side of the Commission floor and formed a veritable conga line to offer their shoulders to cry on.
Here are the commissioners’ interventions, presented in the order in which Chair Bruno Mainini (Switzerland) called upon them to speak regarding the agenda item, Safety at Sea. I should note that after the 23rd intervention on the floor, Chair Mainini closed the comment session.
INDIA: India strongly endorses the IWC resolution on safety at sea and shares the concerns of Japan on safely. We are opposed to violent protest at seas from any organization, while recognizing the rights of individual to express opinions within the law of the land in peaceful protest.
AUSTRALIA: Our position on safety at sea is clear. Nothing less than full compliance is acceptable. We will continue to assert that the MO is the appropriate forum to address safety at sea matters, not the IWC. We respect the right to peaceful protest. We do not condone, and continue to condemn, violations of safety at sea. Protest actions are not the way for Australia to end whaling.
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA: This is a very serious matter, and for yet another year, I continue to be appalled at what we have just seen. Whether the IMO or IWC is the appropriate venue, we should strongly condemn the actions of Sea Shepherd, because these deliberate acts of violence are very serious. The flag states have an additional responsibility to ensure that the vessels carrying their flag conduct themselves in a manner that is acceptable. These are actions of terrorism which are to be condemned.
SAINT VINCENT & THE GRENADINES: The matter of safety at sea has been continuous at our meetings. We make pronouncements of condemnations, but these are superficial. I am of the belief that the Japanese delegation will continue to have this as an agenda item so as to keep us mindful of the dangers faced while conducting the legal activities of an organization. Let us not fool ourselves. While we base our emphasis on the protection of whales, there is a greater need for protection of life and limb.
TANZANIA: Like others, we condemn these unlawful acts. We very much identify ourselves with the comments of Saint Vincent & the Grenadines. Flag states have a responsibility to stop these acts.
UNITED STATES: The safety of vessels and human life at sea is of the highest priority of the United States. We are deeply concerned that confrontations in the Southern Ocean continue to threaten safety.
THE NETHERLANDS: We start by mentioning that The Netherlands is opposed to scientific or commercial whaling and express concern about scientific whaling the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. There is no reason to use lethal means to conduct whaling. We call on Japan to end this practice. The Netherlands feels that the issue of safety at sea is not the appropriate forum for IWC. The appropriate venue is the IMO. A joint statement with New Zealand, Australia, and the United States on Whaling and Safety at Sea in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary was published in December 2011. We respect the right to protest peacefully on the high seas. The Netherlands remains particularly concerned with the escalation of violence in the past couple of years.
NEW ZEALAND: New Zealand takes seriously issues of safety at sea, particularly in the harsh environs of the Southern Ocean. New Zealand understands Japan’s concerns for Sea Shepherd activities and are concerned that there will be a serious incident that results in loss of life. New Zealand notes that the Sea Shepherd organization’s return to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is likely to continue for as long as Japan continues to conduct whaling in the Southern Ocean.
SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS: We would like to express our sympathies for the crew and scientists of the research vessels for Japan operating in the Southern Ocean, and for the constant harassment they face over the years by the unlawful acts of Sea Shepherd. It seems to me that Sea Shepherd is operating in the Southern Ocean without any fear for reprisals or sanctions from either the port states, the flag state, or the country where the Sea Shepherd organization is registered. If it were in their interests to do so, they would act swiftly. We are seeing the seriousness of the Sea Shepherd activities, when it is affecting the site of the important work of the IWC and Scientific Committee. The protests of the Sea Shepherd have gone so far out of control that it affects the scope of our work. This is a wake-up call. Protests are so institutionalized that the Sea Shepherd is making millions of dollars and is now endorsed by a country that is one of our members. Acts of terrorism would be banned by this country, and now we see a documentary has been accepted by Hollywood. That is not right. We are going to see one day that lives are going to be lost. The message is that anything and everything can happen on the high seas without reprisal.
SAINT LUCIA: Saint Lucia associates with the comments of Tanzania, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. This is an IWC matter. The violent acts in the Southern Ocean are escalating. I encourage commissioners to read the report of the Scientific Committee, particularly page 54 of the Scientific Committee report, which says that the work of the Scientific Committee is being affected by the actions of the Sea Shepherd. I want to ask the Commission, as I have in previous years – when are we going to take this serious? When somebody is killed? When we will be coming to the next meeting and we are expressing sympathy?
NORWAY: Norway aligns with Saint Lucia and expresses firm support for Japanese seaman and scientists. These violent activities and attacks against research vessels are taking place year after year; this support is dangerous by condoning these actions. Norway urges flag and port states to be clear in their messages. In mid-May, Paul Watson was arrested in Germany awaiting extradition to Costa Rica for illegally interfering with fisheries operations.
KOREA: Korea, in principle, supports peaceful and legitimate protests, but Korea expresses deep concern for further escalation of activities that increase risk of life and properties at sea. All members of the IWC should condemn illegal and dangerous activities, and take necessary actions to discourage illegal actions on the High Seas.
KIRIBATI: Kiribati does not condone, and strongly condemns, actions of Sea Shepherd against Japan’s research, which we have seen, endangers lives and vessels. We fully associate our comments with strong sentiments of Saint Lucia and others on this issue.
BRAZIL: Brazil supports all efforts to strengthen safety at sea. However, we note that this issue falls within the purview of the IMO, which has the appropriate mechanisms to deal with this issue. We condemn actions of violence at sea, and regret violations of ‘scientific whaling’ in the Southern Ocean are at the heart of this matter.
COLOMBIA: Colombia condemns all actions of violence. As we said at IWC 63, this issue should go to the IMO.
JAPAN: First of all, I thank delegations for their support with regard to safety at sea. However, my delegation was disappointed with one delegation who seem to be supporting Sea Shepherd by criticisms of Japans scientific research, in accordance with the Convention. According to the resolution, the Japanese delegation emphasizes safety at sea. The research of JARPA I and JARPA II is extremely important to the work of the Scientific Committee, and a great deal of scientific knowledge has been lost. IWC has been continuously interrupted by violent radical oppositions of Sea Shepherd. We would like to call again that we have to address this issue and understand that IMO is one of the organizations, but or the governments – actions must be taken.
ICELAND: Iceland wishes to associate with Norway and Korea in support with Japan’s stance in this matter.
CHILE: Chile would like to support what has been expressed by Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and Colombia.
RUSSIAN FEDERATION: Russia supports statements made by Saint Lucia with regards that is a question which should be considered at IWC. Russia and other countries are against the terrorism and in this case, Sea Shepherd is not an organization that would be as difficult to find as Bin Laden, and Sea Shepherd demonstrates ecological terrorism. That’s why I call to IWC and Sea Shepherd flag state countries and as well as registration ports of Sea Shepherd to take measures in order to stop the ecological terrorism.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: I would like to associate my comments with what Brazil, Colombia, and Chile have said. We recommend to Japan that it reconsider scientific whaling because it’s no use risking the lives of Japanese sailors like this. We would like to suggest that IMO is the best organization to take care of this matter.
AUSTRALIA: My apologies for taking the floor a second time. Australia would just like to point out that JARPA is not the sole source of research in this area of the Southern Ocean.
GUINEA: My delegation would like to associate with those who have condemned the actions of Sea Shepherd. We grant great value of the research of JARPA I and II programs and, thanks to these outcomes, we have been able to discover that the stomach contents of some whale species included pelagic species exclusively. The populations of our countries are also consumers of small pelagic species, that’s why we grant great importance to the interaction of fish species and whales, and for food securities. We firmly condemn all activities that might jeopardize this program.
BENIN: We have had the opportunity to hear all viewpoints and find fist solutions before us. I would like to have my own perspective on this highly-contentious issue regarding security. This question of safety is very much linked to whether we have the opportunity to carry out scientific research or not. This ability to carry out scientific research must be ensured in a very bold way. Within the IWC, as long as this issue remains unresolved, we will be forced with huge problems. When the IWC says clearly to the Sea Shepherd, it needs the outcomes of scientific research; we will see these problems end. Such a resolution will enable this institution to make this decision and not IMO.