Sea Shepherd in docks at Wellington

The Sea Shepherd crew are in town to re-provision and have some R’n’R, docked at Queens’ Wharf until 21st February. There aren’t open tours of the ship, due to tight scheduling; a list of fresh commodity requirements is being circulated, as well as a stall selling t-shirts, caps, hoodies, and the usual clutter of small items to fundraise.
The crew members, with support from the local Sea Shepherd group, are very informative and can answer most questions about whaling, the current campaign, and what they hope to achieve this summer in Antarctic waters.

A few if us* are going down to drop off some vegan baking later this afternoon, I may put up some pix after the event.

Other commodities needed/requested include:
-fresh food (avocados, mangos, spinach…)
-frozen fruits and vegetables – olives
-nuts, cashews, pistacchios – crackers
-miso – juices, sodas, cordials
-dairy-free cream – fake meats
-tofu – cereals
-dried fruits – dairy-free milks (oat, soy, almond)
-vegan treats (biscuits, chocolate)
-hot sauces, tabasco – maple syrup
-bragg, soy sauce, tamari – vegan chocolate spread
-peanut butter, vegemite spreads

*vegan foods contain no animal products (meat, dairy, eggs, honey, etc…)

Donations can be delivered to the ship located at:
Taranaki Wharf, Wellington

*[this is an action of the Wellington Craftivism Collective, I should clarify, not my usual coterie of Wellington Greens.]

Update:
Vegan cookies safely dropped off, and there’s still time for more donated items to be taken to the crew, they’re very happy to receive anything vegan on the list!

Ok, here’s those pix:

Bob Barker bow, tied up along Taranaki Wharf, Wellington.

Bob Barker bow, tied up along Taranaki Wharf, Wellington.

Bob Barker, stern end

Bob Barker, stern end

Gangplank and random Sea Shepherd crew leaving ship

Gangplank and random Sea Shepherd crew leaving ship

Going aboard the Steve Irwin

Thanks to the generosity of the Sea Shepherd crew there have been a whirlwind of great events around the city in the past 24 hours, beginning with an open-air forum at Parliament on Friday afternoon, ahead of the Steve Irwin docking at 5.30pm.

Today, I went for a stroll and took a young friend of mine to hear Captain Paul Watson speak at Chicago Bar, then we took the opportunity to take a tour of the Steve Irwin itself.

I’ve also had the priviledge to have visited the Rainbow Warrior II twice in my life, in 2002 and 2008, so I had a bit of a comparison going on in my head as I looked to see what an anti-whaling ship looks like.

It was great to see the safety gear, winches and small craft on the foredeck as we entered the ship; after a quick intro on the bow deck, we went up to the top of the ship and viewed the helicopter deck – one of the smallest helipads I’ve ever seen! Certainly made Helipro’s accommodations on the wharf beside us look very lavish.

Then it was down to the bow again, inside the ship to see the Bridge – again, bristling with safety gear, communications and navigation gear, just as you would expect from a ship sailing challenging international waters continuously. The feature that departs from most maritime standards is the discrete collection of inspirational art scattered around the bridge – images and representations of whales and dolphins, sculptures and even a special little carved wooden piece from the Dalai Llama.

Having heard about how the ship began with a substantial gift from a certain Bob Parker, after whom the ship was originally named and registered in London, we were told that the ship was re-named the Steve Irwin in recognition of the Australian wildlife conservator, who was also a significant benefactor of Sea Shepherd organisation – and advised that if anyone wished to make a substantial gift, they’d pretty happily name a ship after that person, too. Cue grins all round.

We then travelled down through the interior of the ship to the crew quarters, where a short video was shown in the mess room. I took the opportunity to have a quick look at the Galley, which is really well kitted-out to feed a crew of vegetarians who need solidly well-prepared meals to counter-act the rigors of antarctic campaigning. Everything was very well-organised and ‘ship-shape’, I can report. Our guide on the tour had already informed us that they have had one supply consignment of vegetables quarantined, so they’ve been using the galley a bit less than in usual while they’ve been in port.

If you are interested in supporting their efforts to get the Government to do something about whaling, or you’d like to see if you can help in any other way, you can contact the New Zealand Sea Shepherd supporters at info@seashepherd.org.nz

There’s the ubiquitous Facebook Group – “New Zealand Sea Shepherd” .
Also have a look at the new campaign on the Greens website, send John Key an e-card or a postcard – Take Your Head out of the Sand, John, You Can’t Save Whales by Killing Them. On the whaling page here

Captain Paul Watson speaking at Chicago Bar

Captain Paul Watson speaking at Chicago Bar


Banner for Pete Bethune

Banner for Pete Bethune


Crowds queueing to go onboard

Crowds queueing to go onboard


Crew mess onboard Steve Irwin

Crew mess onboard Steve Irwin


Crew lounge area

Crew lounge area


Crew lounge where video was shown

Crew lounge where video was shown

Sea Shepherd visit to Wellington

This is a message from the New Zealand Sea Shepherd group, to public and supporters:

We are 1000+ strong in New Zealand and growing rapidly, thanks to your efforts and the intensifying pressure on Japanese whalers to curtail their activities in the Southern Ocean Marine Sanctuary.

As a society with “conservation” in both our name and our charter, we have a deep concern for the devolution of the oceans and the extinction of many species of marine mammals and pelagic fish. We are living in a time of mass extinction; entire species are disappearing at an alarming rate. Nowhere is this happening faster than the oceans.

Sea Shepherd works for the overall good of the planet; we are a small organisation with a modest budget and operations worldwide. We have defended whales, dolphins, arp seals, bluefin tuna, sharks, turtles and other endangered marine life against poachers for more than thirty years.

We believe that John Key has misread the minds and hearts of New Zealanders in regards their relationship to the environment, and his proposal to reinstate commercial whaling after a 24- year moratorium is one example of the growing credibility gap between current government policies and the wishes of the New Zealand people. This is a values clash that cannot be negotiated.

Our response to this will be heard loud and clear this Friday 19th and Saturday 20th March in Wellington. Sea Shepherd’s founder Captain Paul Watson will be here Friday and Saturday; the Steve Irwin will arrive in port at Queen’s Wharf late Friday evening and be open to the public on Saturday, departing for the Galapagos Islands Saturday night. Here are the issues we will be addressing:

- Pete Bethune is going on trial in Japan when the real criminal, the Japanese skipper of the security vessel Shonan Maru No.2, who deliberately attacked and destroyed the Ady Gil, goes free in Japan. We will be showing our support for Pete, and inviting other organisations to join us.

– John Key’s flawed plan to resume commercial whaling goes on trial in the Court of New Zealand public opinion, with Labour’s Chris Carter leading the charge. If you haven’t signed the petition, take a minute and go to
http://carter.org.nz/?page_id=567.

- The Australian government has threatened to take Japan to an International Court in November over continued violations in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.
Our government has refused to back this move, although they claim to want closer relations with Australia. We will ask why they are ignoring an issue that has commercial and environmental implications for both countries.

-The 47 signatories to the Antarctic Treaty meet in the USA next month. We want to see an environmental pollution complaint against Japanese whaling interests on the meeting’s agenda.

- Glen Inwood’s role as spokesman for the whalers and in supplying dis-information to the New Zealand government and media will be revealed to the public, along with his connection to Japanese commercial interests in New Zealand.

Update

OFFICIAL SEA SHEPHERD NEW ZEALAND EVENT

Sea Shepherd is coming to town. Show your support for saving the beloved whales, endangered and yet still being hunted in the thousands, in a whale sanctuary – in our back yard.

Here is a list of events so far:

FRIDAY 19TH MARCH – MIDDAY TO 2pm
OPEN FORUM SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT WITH CAPTAIN PAUL WATSON AT THE PARLIAMENT GROUNDS (grass area) Wellington.

FRIDAY 5.30PM
- Powhiri traditional Maori Welcome for Captain Paul Watson and the crew
of the Sea Shepherd boat the “Steve Irwin” .
- The Steve Irwin Ship arrives into Queens Wharf (in front of Ferg’s Kayaks building). If you are a boat owner or know of someone that is, follow the Steve Irwin into port and lets give them the best kiwi welcome ever!!

SATURDAY 20TH MARCH – 10 AM
- Tours of the ship

SATURDAY 20TH MARCH – 11 AM TO 1 PM
- Hear Captain Paul Watson talk at the CHIGAGO BAR, Queens wharf.

SATURDAY EVENING 20TH MARCH
6-11pm Charity Concert in support of Pete Bethune at Sandwiches bar, corner of Courtenay Place and Kent Terrace, Wellington City.
FEATURING OUR AMAZING NZ MUSICIANS………
- Tiki Taane
- Rhombus Sound System
- Steel Burning
- Riki Gooch
- Sean Deans
AND SPECIAL GUESTS…
Tickets $25 each or 5 tickets for $100.
Pre-purchase tickets through the team at Sea Shepherd Wellington by contacting:
lisa@seashepherd.org.nz
Phone Lisa or Marcus on 027 286 8642, 021 144 9249 or 04 972 0240

Activists protest outside Japanese Embassy after whalers ram support boat.

Sea shepherd activists and supporters gathered outside the Majestic Centre in Willis St, Wellington from 11.30am to 2pm, to protest the actions of the Japanese whaling fleet in the antartic ocean yesterday.

Wellington Sea Shepherd co-ordinator Lisa Baines used a loud-hailer to speak to passersby about the ramming and eventual destruction of the Ady Gil, and to ask for donations and signatures for the petition which she planned to present to the Japanese Ambassador.

Around 2pm, Security guards escorted Lisa and a companion activist into the building, where TV1 camera crews followed them into the Embassy offices. The Ambassador would not speak with Lisa, but sent an assistant to accept the signed petition sheets.

Background here:

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1001/S00097.htm

and

http://seashepherd.org/nz

media responses:
http://www.3news.co.nz/Sea-Shepherd-captain-devastated-by-sinking/tabid/209/articleID/136574/Default.aspx

http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/government-comments-upset-sea-shepherd-3326177

Leave me alone – I’m trying to have a holiday

David Farrar at Kiwiblog also has a regular on-line column at the National Business Review. This week his NBR column is a purported SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis of the political parties in Parliament.

Among his suggested weakneses for National, he states: “Some new Ministers may prove to be easy targets for the Opposition.”

Now, there’s been quite a lot of activity on the Foreign Affairs front warranting a response from Foreign Minister Murray McCully over the last month. So lets have a look at some of the media comments (or lack thereof) emanating from the Dark Side:

Whaling: Government whaling spokesman Murray McCully said he had not seen the report detailing the proposal…

Whaling: But he says the overall objective needs to be to stop whaling altogether. Mr McCully says he is relaxed about debates on how to do that – but says there are no proposals on the table which New Zealand lends its support to.

Whaling: A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said he was awaiting ministerial advice before responding to the report.

Sea Shepherd: A spokesman for Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the Government would not comment publicly unless the ship intended to enter New Zealand.

Sea Shepherd: A government spokesman said that the Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, would be advised on the matter, as soon as a thorough assessment was completed.

Sri Lankan conflict: A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully told ONE News that New Zealand’s links to Sri Lanka are not strong enough to try to help resolve the conflict…

Israeli invasion of Gaza: Putting pressure on Israel alone to end the violence in Gaza will not stop the death toll rising, says Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully.

Israeli invasion of Gaza: Amnesty says it is disappointed at recent comments by Foreign Minister Murray McCully and would welcome a stronger call to end the bloodshed there.

Israeli invasion of Gaza: The Government has taken a neutral stance. Since the conflict began, Foreign Minister Murray McCully has been urging both sides to agree to a ceasefire.

Israeli invasion of Gaza: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said that while deeply disappointed with Israel’s invasion, which has caused over 500 Palestinian deaths, it was “pointless” discussing whether it was overreaction.

Israeli invasion of Gaza: A spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said New Zealand is not a significant player in Middle Eastern politics but the Government is doing all it can.

Israeli invasion of Gaza: Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said the criticism from Mr Locke that the government had not released a press statement on the Gaza conflict was “pure sophistry”. “I have been available to every news media outlet in the country that has sought comment on the issue from the outset.

Fiji rules out elections: New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully would not comment on the issue.

Relations with Fiji: New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully told Radio New Zealand the issue will be raised in Cabinet when it resumes later this month. He said it will be up to New Zealand’s Prime Minister to decide how to respond as the letter is addressed to him.

Israeli women ordered out of Southland café: Mr McCully told The Southland Times people had very strong views on the situation in the Middle East. “But it’s to be hoped that this sort of thing isn’t to be imported into New Zealand.” He would not answer further questions on the issue.

Israeli women ordered out of Southland café: Foreign Affairs minister Murray McCully did not return calls last night.

On the basis of this performance, I’m wondering if McCully was one of the Ministers who inspired David Farrar’s suggestion some of them could be easy targets. Let’s hope Murray’s holiday doesn’t last the full three year term.