United States joins in affirming opposition to Southern Ocean Whaling, calling for restraint by whalers and their opponents.

Author:Crook, John R.
Position:International Oceans, Environment, Health, and Aviation Law

In December 2010, the United States and several other countries issued a joint statement affirming opposition to whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and calling for restraint in encounters between whalers and antiwhaling activists. The statement refers to a January 2010 incident involving a collision between Japanese whaling ship Shonan Maru No. 2 and the Ady Gil, a much smaller vessel operated by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. (1) Sea Shepherd is an antiwhaling group based in the U.S. state of Washington. The statement follows:

The Governments of Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States jointly condemn any actions that imperil human life in the Southern Ocean. We are deeply concerned that confrontations in the Southern Ocean will eventually lead to injury or loss of life among both whaling crews and protestors, many of whom are nationals of our countries. We call on the masters of all vessels involved in these actions in the Southern Ocean to take responsibility for ensuring that the safety of human life at sea is their highest priority. We remain resolute in our opposition to whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, established by the International Whaling Commission, and are disappointed at the recent departure of the Japanese whaling fleet for the Southern Ocean. Our governments respect the right of individuals and groups to protest peacefully, including on the high seas. At the same time, we condemn dangerous or violent activities from all participants. Any unlawful activity will be dealt with in accordance with relevant international and domestic laws. The Southern Ocean in particular is a remote and unforgiving environment where the risk of adverse incidents is high and the capacity for search and rescue or other assistance is low. Any accident in this region jeopardizes not only the safety of whaling and protest vessels and their crews but also anyone who comes to their assistance. We are deeply...

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