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Blog of a Vegan Pirate, Post 1: Operation Migaloo

Our ship, the Steve Irwin

Photo taken by ship’s photographer Noah Hannibal

This is the first of many blog posts documenting my time serving on the Sea Shepherd vegan pirate ship, The Steve Irwin, and our mission to stop illegal Japanese whaling there from February and March of 2008. In light of the 2008 IWC Meeting finishing with the usual deadlock, and Sea Shepherd officially announcing its 2008-2009 anti-whaling campaign, Operation Musashi, it seemed a good time to show vegans what’s going on in the world of whaling.

These posts will document the ship’s journey from Australia to Antarctica for Operation Migaloo (the name of the 2007-2008 Sea Shepherd Antarctic anti-whaling campaign), and describe our sea battles there to stop the illegal Japanese whaling fleet. This will show what few people seem to know is happening to the whales, and what we can all do to stop one of the worst forms of poaching in the world.

Purpose of this whale blog: Like a lot of other people I know, I wanted to save the whales when I was a kid. But after I grew up, I didn’t realize that they STILL need to be saved, since whaling was illegal and all. And I’m starting to realize a lot of people don’t know that whales are still being hunted as if they’re not endangered. More importantly, it seems a lot of people have no idea that there’s something they can do to directly stop it. But there is.

Killing whales breaks six international laws, including that of the International Whaling Commission, the only international legislative body that has any modicum of direct control over countries’ whaling activities. However, the UN World Charter for Nature (pay close attention to sections 21-24) empowers us all to stop illegal poaching/whaling if we see it happening. Let me emphasize that again: the UN World Charter for Nature gives ALL of us, any individual on earth, the power to stop lawbreakers who poach or destroy nature. That means we can videotape their activities and turn the poachers in to authorities, we can get in poachers’ ways so they can’t kill whales and other endangered creatures, we can interfere with their activities and infrastructure, and we can even break their s%#t so long as we’re not in any jurisdiction that protects them.

One of the Japanese soldiers (who’s standing on the deck of the Nisshin Maru) that we fought

I recently went to Australia and got on a ship with 32 other people from around the world (like Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, South Africa, and Canada, among others). We all went to Antarctica on the Sea Shepherd vessel the Steve Irwin, to confront and stop the Japanese federally-funded whaling juggernaut that consisted of eight ships, hundreds of crew members, military personnel, guns, grenades, armor, military shields, and tear gas bombs. We were armed with absolutely nothing but one old, broken down ship, some beer bottles filled with rotten butter, some slippery white powder, and of course the authority to stop illegal poaching that you and I and all individuals on earth have under the UN World Charter for Nature. Sailing down there with a paltry arsenal and relatively few people who even ever served on a ship before, we defeated the whaling fleet. Even Japan eventually admitted we stopped them from harpooning 500 whales.

I’m a nearsighted computer geek who was making websites in a cubicle and had no prior ship experience, much less law enforcement or poaching interference experience. Yet somehow Japan labeled me a dangerous pirate that threatens the security of their country because of how successfully we stopped their illegal whaling. And if I’m that big a threat to massive poaching projects, what’s stopping any other person from being as effective in ending poaching or the destruction of nature? Anyone can pick an issue or a place dear to them on earth and make a remarkable difference; you don’t have to go all the way to Antarctica necessarily.

I want to put up a blog to show people the type of obstacles we had, the everyday type of people we are, the size of the beast we were up against, and how we could all still beat the bullies who shot at us from a ship eight times our size. Each blog post will be an email I’ve sent from the ship to friends in America, so they’ll speak conversationally about daily life and the interesting things that come up, and each post will be accompanied by some photos from the trip. The most important point to all this is that anyone can become a pirate and save a corner of the world; all they have to do is decide to do it.

I also put up a donations page, if anyone wants to help me pay for plane tickets to my next Sea Shepherd campaign.

Our next blog post (and first one written from the ship) will go up on Wednesday. In the meantime, here’s our ship, the day before we left Melbourne for the February to March leg of Operation Migaloo:

(photo taken by official ship’s photographer Noah Hannibal)


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    All vegans should join “Sea Sheppard? as they kick some serious ass! Great job and keep it up. Also its worth seeing ?Shark Water? as it portrays some of what is going on in the world of illegal whaling and long line fishing, etc. It?s the type of stuff that makes you realize even more why we need to stand up and make some noise and raise awareness. Seems the eyes of the world are closing fast. :(

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    Figures I’d spell “Sea Shepherd” incorrectly….