US Court: Sea Shepherds are “the Very Embodiment of Piracy”

sea-shepherdLate Monday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the anti-whaling extremists and reality TV show stars, the Sea Shepherds, are indeed pirates.  In his ruling, Judge Alex Kozinski wrote: ” When you ram ships, hurl glass containers of acid, drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders, launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate…  The activities that Cetacean [the Japanese whalers] alleges Sea Shepherd has engaged in are clear instances of violent acts for private ends, the very embodiment of piracy.”

US court brands whale activists Sea Shepherd ‘pirates’

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling allows the Japanese whalers to continue their lawsuit the anti-whaling extremists.  In December, the court issued an injunction against the Sea Shepherds interfering with Japanese whaling activities, which the Sea Shepherds have ignored.  The Sea Shepherds are the stars of Animal Planet’s reality TV show, “Whale Wars.”  Sea Shepherd founder and frequent  star of the TV show, Paul Watson is currently an international fugitive, after jumping bail in Germany on charges related to an attack on shark fishermen in Costa Rica in 2002. Interpol has issued a warrant for his arrest.

For the record, we oppose Japanese whaling but do not condone the Sea Shepherd’s vigilante violence, which does absolutely nothing to protect endangered species of whales, and which, has only hurt efforts to end Japanese whaling.  See our previous post – Sea Shepherds Hurt Efforts to Reduce Whaling – WikiLeaks

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14 Responses to US Court: Sea Shepherds are “the Very Embodiment of Piracy”

  1. Phil says:

    Wasn’t that long ago the Japanese rammed them.
    With video:

    Japan halts whale hunt after Sea Shepherd clashes
    Updated Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:35am AEDT
    Sea Shepherd is claiming victory after Japan temporarily suspended its annual whale hunt in the Southern Ocean.
    On Wednesday the anti-whaling group claimed two of its boats, the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker, were rammed by a Japanese ship in Australian Antarctic waters.

  2. Well now finally the Courts have spoken how things have changed. Years ago when first publishing NAUTICAL LOG a writing against the SSCS pirate group we were roundly critisised for supporting whaling. If the commenters of those days had read the Posts fully they would have seen that NAUTICAL LOG has always abhored whaling but regarded the violent behaviour of the SSCS cult to be piracy on the High Seas.

    As to PHIL’s comment above perhaps Phil would like to read NAUTICAL LOG for a different viewpoint on this latest ramming.

    Good Watch

  3. Rick Spilman says:

    The Sea Shepherds used to brag about the number of whalers that they had sunk. They even sold a T shirt bragging about it. They have rammed the Japanese whalers on video before. Now they claim to be the victims of ramming. Of course, they cut in front of the Japanese ships, so that should not be too surprising. Their actions violate the Law of the Sea and endanger human life and do nothing to protect endangered species of whales.

  4. Nunzio says:

    Despite what some US citizens may think, the US courts have NO jurisdiction over what happens in international and in this case, Australian, territorial waters. Sea Shepherds and their volunteers are doing the right thing. So shut up and butt out if you lack the courage and moral conviction to do the right thing.

  5. Rick Spilman says:

    Actually Nunzio, the US has complete jurisdiction to counter piracy where ever it is encountered. That is a basic tenant of international law. The right thing to do to end whaling is to use diplomacy and not vigilante violence. Diplomacy is slow but it works. Paul Watson’s clownish thuggery for his reality TV audience accomplishes nothing.

  6. Stephan Williams says:

    Rick Spilman, If you have any evidence to support your allegations, I’d be very interested in reading the links to it. In the video Phil has linked to above it is clear that the oil tanker and the factory ship deliberately crushed the Sea Shepherd’s boat between them while firing incendiary rounds which fortunately missed.

    Nunzio, You’ve got my vote.

    I’m of the opinion that the pirates in this very bad movie are the Japanese Whalers who are murdering a sentient species we know next to nothing about with modern clinical efficiency. A species with a brain much larger than our own. And they’re doing for profit even though they try to hide behind the lie that they need thousands of whales a year for research.

    And for what? Everything the whales give them they can get somewhere else.

    …and don’t get me going on the similarities between a Banana Republic’s judiciary and the judiciary we now find firmly ensconced in the United States.

    How did this happen?

  7. Rick Spilman says:


    The Sea Shepherds violated the Law of the Sea by attempting to force their way between the two ships.

    Regarding the rest of your post, we will disagree. I oppose whaling but I do not support the thuggery practiced by Paul Watson and his reality TV show gang. Violence is not the way to resolve international conflicts.

  8. stephan williams says:

    Rick Spillman said: “The Sea Shepherds violated the Law of the Sea by attempting to force their way between the two ships.”

    This is the “evidence” you are providing in support of your earlier allegations (reproduced below)? That’s not evidence. That’s hyperbole rather than substance.

    Rick Spillman, (in and earlier post): “The Sea Shepherds used to brag about the number of whalers that they had sunk. They even sold a T shirt bragging about it. They have rammed the Japanese whalers on video before. Now they claim to be the victims of ramming.”

    Mr. Spillman, Not only did the Sea Shepherds “claim to be the victims of ramming”, they actually WERE “the victims of ramming”. And of being fired on, I might add. The images that prove that FACT have gone viral on the internet.

    Finally, you speak of thuggery, Mr. Spillman – how would you describe the actions of the Japanese if not as thuggery? And not only their recorded thuggery against the humans opposed to their butchery… I’d also like you to think long and hard about the savage thuggery they practice against their helpless victims. These aren’t mackerel they’re scooping up. These mammals communicate with each other over incredible distances using brains bigger than ours. What right do the Japanese have to kill them when the resources they get by killing them are available elsewhere?

  9. Rick Spilman says:

    Oh please Stephan, Watson’s whining about being a victim is both pathetic and transparently dishonest. If you are that gullible, it really is not my problem. Their vessels would never have been struck by the whalers if they hadn’t gotten directly in their way. Read the Colregs.

    And though you continue to ignore it, I also oppose Japanese whaling. I also oppose the brand of piracy practiced by Watson and his gang. Judge Alex Kozinski got it exactly right as point of law and as basic reality.

  10. Captain Jeff Neuwirth says:

    Weren’t they doing all this Before the TV show?
    Does a law enforcement vessel speeding through a crowded harbor violate ColRegs? Violate Law of the Sea? Harpoon catching is not Piracy.
    Piracy at its heart requires a profit motive. Sea Shepherd doesn’t make expenses.
    Australia seems to have a level headed view of the matter.

  11. Rick Spilman says:

    Yes, Paul Watson was a violent thug even before he had a his own TV show. He was booted out of Greenpeace because of he advocated violence. His history of violence is the reason that Watson is an international fugitive today. He claims to have sunk ten whaling ships.

    Read what Greenpeace has to say about Watson. Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace: some facts. Pay attention to the damage that Watson has done to the environmental movement.

    Greenpeace has never sunk a whaling ship.

    Some anti-environmentalists try to use the fact that an extreme minority in the environmental movement resorts to force and sabotage to brand the movement as a whole as “terrorist.” One such attempt has been specifically condemned by a Norwegian court.

    Greepeace goes on to comment on the Sea Shepherd’s attempts to foul the propeller of a whaling ship. They write:

    Disabling a ship at sea in the Antarctic, regardless of how much one may object to its activities, is not only a callous act of disregard for human life — it’s courting an environmental disaster in one of the most fragile environments in the world.

    Such tactics are not only dangerous to the whalers, they are dangerous to the cause of stopping Japanese whaling. Our political analysis is unequivocal: if Japanese whaling is to be stopped, it will be stopped by a domestic decision within the Japanese government to do so.

    I am sorry but any comparison of the Sea Shepherds to law enforcement is farcical. Piracy is exactly as defined by the courts, “violent acts for private ends.” If you object to the term, how does eco-terrorist sound?

    “There’s nothing wrong with being a terrorist, as long as you win. Then you write the history.” Paul Watson said that.

    And by the way, to return to the larger issue, the Sea Shepherds and their reality TV show do absolutely nothing to save endangered species of whales.

  12. Stephan Williams says:

    And not a whiff of concern from Mr. Spilman about the fate of those hundreds and hundreds of unfortunate whales trapped and killed within the boundaries of a whale sanctuary by the Japanese whaling fleet for profit every year…

    As for Mr. Watson’s supposed “terrorism” – Bollocks! The real terrorists are those with the power and license to kill other sentient species just because they arrogantly claim that right for themselves in opposition to the will of most of the rest of the world’s peoples.

    From where I’m sitting, Mr. Watson and his associates appear to be freedom fighters engaged in a struggle against a savage horde of greedy murderers more interested in lining their pockets than in doing the right thing.

    And you, Mr. Spillman, are acting suspiciously like a propagandist troll engaged by the Powers that Be to discombobulate and misdirect our attention. Sigh…I suppose that was to be expected in an argument where the stakes are so high.

  13. Rick Spilman says:

    Give me a break Stephan. You continue to ignore my opposition to whaling just as you continue to ignore reality. And now you call me “a propagandist troll engaged by the Powers that Be.” I guess if you lack both facts and reason, then hurling insults is your only recourse.

    I happen to agree completely with Greenpeace regarding Watson and his gang. Do you consider Greenpeace to be the “Powers that Be”?

    Greenpeace writes: “By making it easy to paint anti-whaling forces as dangerous, piratical terrorists, Sea Shepherd could undermine the forces within Japan which could actually bring whaling to an end.

    Rather than fight the Japanese in the international courts and the court of public opinion, Watson glorifies violence as he runs from the law. Sea Shepherd’s piratical and terrorism activities are hurting the efforts to end whaling.

  14. Wtf says:

    Aaaand the SSCS just purchased two 110′ coast guard cutters from the us gov, can anyone tell me how this happens?