1. Interrobang says

    If the Nisshin Maru issued a mayday, and the Greenpeace vessel was the closest ship to them, they are, as far as I know, legally obligated to effect a rescue, unless doing so would put their own lives at risk. Since the emergency in question was a fire, instead of, say, heavy weather, presumably the Greenpeace ship can do the rescue without any danger. The Greenpeace folks may not like it at all, but they may be just obeying the law.

  2. fyreflye says

    The last headline I saw (I didn’t read the story) was that the Nisshin Maru had refused help from Greenpeace. Is this permissible under maritime law?

  3. DFX says

    Interrobang, did you read the story in question? The Greenpeace guys are more than happy to help, its the whalers who aren’t sure they want it.

  4. says

    In a BBC interview earlier today, a Greenpeace spokesperson made it very clear that they were more than willing to help out for both moral and legal reasons. She also suggested (and I Am Not A Lawyer, Maritime Or Otherwise – IANALMOO) that the whaling vessel was potentially legally obliged to accept the help. Amazing how the world works sometimes…

  5. Colugo says

    Japan and other pro-whaling nations (including Russia, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Morocco) call anti-whaling nations “imperialists.” Now that’s rich: Japan and Russia accusing other countries of being “imperialists.”

    “Pro-whaling nations issued a draft statement Thursday accusing anti-whaling countries of “imperialism” for imposing a ban on commercial hunts, and Japan threatened to quit the International Whaling Commission unless it is reformed. …

    The meeting, however, was boycotted by half the commission’s membership, including anti-whaling nations the United States, Britain and Australia. …

    The draft summary of the conference accused anti-whaling countries of discriminating against pro-hunt members.

    “Imposing moral and ethical judgments that affect our right to use resources in spite of scientific evidence is imperialism,” the summary said.”

  6. Barry says

    “The last headline I saw (I didn’t read the story) was that the Nisshin Maru had refused help from Greenpeace. Is this permissible under maritime law?”

    Posted by: fyreflye

    I dunno about maritime law, but I’d think that the insurance contract would look unkindly on losing a ship due to refusing help.

  7. Interrobang says

    Sorry, DFX, I didn’t read the whole thing. I only got down to the beginning of the second-last paragraph before I got distracted. Hence the “may not”; I was hedging my bets. I’m glad the Greenpeace people are glad to help. I don’t know enough about the relevant high-seas maritime law to tell you if the Nisshin Maru crew can refuse aid, if they had also issued a mayday (the article doesn’t mention). The “mayday” part is important in making that determination.

  8. mike says

    Whales are yummy enough i suppose, but i don’t think i would travel all the way to Antarctica just to pick some up. I prefer squid! Mmm… Although, Octopus tempura with a splash of salt really can’t be beaten.

  9. John Mruzik says


  10. MartinC says

    Isn’t it ironic ?
    Maybe in the Alanis Morrisette definition of irony I guess.
    Im afraid I don’t buy into the whole anti-whaling consensus. To be against killing endangered animals is one thing (I am against that!) but to say another cultures rules about which animals it accepts as food are simply wrong is another matter entirely. How would the average American react to a militant Indian hindu group pushing to ban ALL animal and fish from being used as food ?
    Whale meat has stopped being a major part of the diet in whaling countries (and remember this also includes some of the Scandinavian countries too, its not just Japan) so it is pretty much a delicacy these days. To kill a few whales of species such as Minke that arent endangered to satisy this demand cannot really be argued against on the grounds of driving the species to extinction.

  11. Mick says

    I’d agree with you, Martin. But Japan hasn’t just been taking Minkes, as Norway does, but Sei, Sperm and the endangered Fin whale too.

  12. jbark says

    Wait, why isn’t this textbook irony?

    The people you most hoped would go away ended up being crucial to your success by their refusal to do so.

  13. says

    I have a hard time believing either the counts or the “safe levels” when it comes to whale populations gathered by the Whaling Commission. My understanding is that commercial whaling is still illegal, and if this were merely a cultural thing (and defended as such) it would be something totally different (and more limited I’d hope!) But the Japanese government consistently kills whales in the name of “scientific inquiry” and that is bothersome.

    Now, because the Nisshin Maru is one of the few whalers capable of processing whale meat (according to a BBC report) I can’t feel TOO sorry if the ship is totally incapacitated.

    Irony? gee, it’s almost enough to make me believe in God.

  14. ajay says

    If the whaler’s disabled and out of control, and Greenpeace crewmen board it to render assistance, I think that the law says Greenpeace can claim salvage – a third of the value of the vessel and cargo.

    Now that’s irony.

  15. Dylan says

    If Sagan’s Cosmos taught me a hundred things (and it did), one of those things was that the whales are awesome and fascinating fellow earthlings. I am not against consumption of meat or other animal products in general, but harvesting materials from whales is like killing chimpanzees for meat.

  16. says

    Interesting point about the Nisshin Maru possibly losing their insurance for refusing aid.

    Over at they occasionally post updates about the whaling conflicts and the whale meat market in Japan; it seems that kids won’t eat the stuff, and it’s sometimes going for dog food.