I make no secret about the fact that I support Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. They describe themselves as; ‘an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. [Whose] mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.’ In order to achieve this they use; ‘innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas.’ The words ‘direct action’ mean that they are prepared to put their lives on the line. For More information please visit their website here; http://www.seashepherd.org/.
During the last couple of months they have been protecting the whales in the Southern Ocean from the Japanese whaling fleet who have been illegally hunting in a sanctuary. The Japanese were aiming to kill 950 whales, but thanks to the efforts of Sea Shepherd they have taken less than 70.
Sea Shepherd has achieved this by cutting the Japanese fleet off from it’s fuel tanker which has been attempting to refuel the fleet within the sanctuary, (an action which in itself is illegal given the fact that it is within the sanctuary). They have also made it extremely difficult for the harpoon ships to transfer the dead and dying whales to the factory ship by sitting directly behind the vessels ramp, and of course they have used their RHIBs and helicopter to prevent the harpoon operators from getting a clear shot.
I wrote the following poem as mark of my respect for the brave men and women of Sea Shepherd, and I thank them for what they do to protect the wildlife in the world's oceans.
The fluke rises and falls effortlessly
as it propels her through the friged polar water.
The graceful motion conserves the energy
She has stored as fat during her time
in the krill rich Southern Ocean.
The cooling water has signalled
it is time to move North towards Australia.
Here, in the warmer tropical waters
the changes she feels within her streamlined frame
will come to fruition, and her calf will be born.
A brass propeller roils the water
leaving a broad streak of foaming bubbles
in the churning wake of the ugly predator.
High on the elevated bow a harpoon gun gazes down,
primed to deliver its grotesque load.
The hunter does not work alone,
other vessels ply this stretch of ocean
with the same murderous intent.
They work together to harpoon and butcher
graceful cetaceans for a fast buck.
A cloud of vapour rises ten feet
from the surface, as she takes a mighty breath.
Off in the distance excited figures point
And the harpoon ship turns menacingly towards her
its crew preparing for the slaughter.
As the ship closes, the whale,
aware of its presence, picks up her pace.
Mile after mile the chase continues.
Gradually the whale tires and her dives shorten.
The hunt is drawing to a close.
A frustrated operator is ready to fire.
The harpoon, tipped with an exploding head
which will rip into the whale and embed a hawser
with which to recover the wounded beast, is ready to fire.
But he has not got a shot.
For there protecting the tiring, frightened whale,
Is a Sea Shepherd RHIB manned by four brave souls.
Hour upon hour they position themselves between the
predator and its prey. This time, with their help,
the whale manages to slip away.
John Carré Buchanan
26 February 2013