Hoka Hey! All Systems Go For Sea Shepherd’s Operation Divine Wind.
This will be the season that defines the future for the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Japan’s Asahi News has confirmed that the Japanese whaling fleet will return to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. It makes little political or economic sense for the Japanese fleet to return to the coast of Antarctica, but their motivation has now shifted from hunting whales to refusing to surrender to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The Japanese government has said that it is not in the national interest of Japan to give in to pressure from Sea Shepherd. To this end, the Japanese government has allocated 27 million Australian dollars to enhance security for the Japanese whaling fleet. Already some 200 million dollars in debt, the whaling fleet continues to be an economic burden on the Japanese people.
“It is an insult to all the anti-whaling nations that so generously contributed to the relief of the tsunami and earthquake victims,” said Captain Paul Watson. “They have accepted foreign aid to help the victims of that tragedy, and are now shifting funds to perpetuate this illegal and obscene massacre of defenseless whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. It now seems they are simply obsessed with killing whales not for need, and not for profit, but because they believe they have the right to do what they wish and kill whatever they wish in an established international whale sanctuary, just for the sake of defending their misplaced “honor.” It’s a disgrace and a smack in the face to everyone who stepped forward to help in their time of need.”
Sea Shepherd will return to the remote waters for their 8th Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign with a stronger anti-whaling fleet in early December 2011 to protect the great whales.
“They will have to kill us to prevent us from intervening once again,” said Captain Watson. “Are the Japanese people ready to take human lives in defense of this horrifically cruel and illegal slaughter of endangered and protected species of whales? Do we have to die to appease Japanese honor? If so, my answer to the Japanese government is “hoka hey” (Lakota for ‘it’s a good day to die’), and we will undertake whatever risks to our lives will be required to stop this invasion of arrogant greed into what is an established sanctuary for the whales.”
Operation Divine Wind will send over 100 volunteers to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to defend the whales.
“If we don’t stop them, who will?” said Peter Hammarstedt of Sweden, First Officer on the Bob Barker. “We intend to stop them and we will stop them – that’s a promise.”
Operation Divine Wind will be the eighth year that Sea Shepherd has sent ships to the coast of Antarctica to frustrate the profits of the Japanese whaling fleet. Each year Sea Shepherd has gotten stronger and more effective, saving over 800 whales during last year’s Operation No Compromise.