Court Bans the Sea Shepherd from Harassi

December 20 [Thu], 2012, 13:19
According to the, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an injunction against anti-whaling activist group the Sea Shepard to reduce its harassment of Japanese whaling vessels off the coast of Antarctica. The injunction says that the Sea Shepherd must remain at least 500 yards away from the whaling ships. The decision comes after a long legal battle between the two parties.

Here are some facts and details about the court's decision, including the events that led up to it and the Sea Shepard's response to the injunction:

* The whaling fleet, operated by Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research, sued the anti-whaling group last year to prevent them from interfering with research operations that include the killing of whales.

* Initially, a judge refused to grant the request so the whalers appealed the refusal. Then a panel of three judges granted the injunction and are now going to try to rule on the merits of the appeal.

* Paul Watson, leader of the Sea Shepherd, says that the group is now assessing its legal options and is not backing out of its campaign this year, reported.

* Watson commented, "So I guess we'll have to apply a little imagination to find a way of dealing with this, but I can say with absolute confidence we have no plans to break any laws at all, we operate within the law."

* According to, the whalers are accusing the Sea Shepherd of carrying out violent acts the endanger the lives of crew members and property value during their campaigns to stop whaling.

* In creating a 500-yard barrier, the injunction seeks to reduce physical attacks against the whaling vessels.

* The Sea Shepherd is also arguing that aggressive acts were also made against the anti-whaling group's vessels as well, which wasn't taken into account during the decision, reported.

* Similarly, the group is contending that the court is making decisions regarding waters that it does not own and that these waters do not technically fall under a certain country's jurisdiction.

* However, Donald Rothwell, an international law professor at the Australian National University, said that while the injunction would be almost impossible to enforce, it could create problems later on since the Sea Shepherd is a registered company in the U.S.

* Technically, if found in violation, Watson could end up being arrested in the U.S.

* Currently, the whaling fleet has yet to leave Japan, but the Sea Shepherd is already preparing for its upcoming South Ocean campaign.

Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.
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