Thursday, January 10, 2013

Has Paul Watson Been Done In?

So, Paul Watson is stepping down as the leader of "Sea Sheperd Conservation Society".

A step that many, myself included, thought would never happen.

Has he finally seen the light?

One could only hope.

He said that he's stepping aside to honor an injunction by a US court, banning him from coming within 500 yards of  and interfering with any Japanese Whaling Ship. On Sea Shepherd's website it states that: "Paul Watson will remain aboard to document the campaign." 

I'm sure that he'll only be documenting and not doing anything else. I mean he's Paul Watson, self appointed enforcer of international law! He wouldn't violate those international laws himself.

Nope, not Paul Watson!

Take his current status for example. He's not really a fugitive from the law, with a warrant out for his arrest by Interpol. He didn't endanger a fishing vessel in Costa Rican waters, when he tried to force them into port, to face the Costa Rican justice system, the same justice system that he's now not really running from.

So why did he really step aside from Sea Shepherd? I suspect is has more to do with a story that got less media attention. The fact that he's being sued by Ady Gil, the owner of the famous ship that was supposedly hit and sunk by a Japanese whaling ship. Ady Gil alleges that Paul Watson ordered the sinking of the ship, rather than bringing it back for repairs, for publicity reasons.

 A video on youtube clearly shows the "Ady Gil" just drifting in the water, alongside the Japanese ship. Then, at around the 19 second mark, the video shows whitewater behind the props, a clear sign that the "Ady Gil" engaged the props and propelled itself into the path of the whaling ship. So it was actually the "Ady Gil" that rammed the whaling ship, not the other way round no matter how many press releases from Sea Shepherd say otherwise.

His stepping aside is most likely an attempt to prevent Ady Gil's suit from potentially getting a lien against Sea Shepherds other ships.

So why do I think that the story about this lawsuit is really important? This is the first time that a big time supporter has come out against him. Someone who's given him a 5 million dollar vessel is now disenchanted by his actions to the point that he's suing him.

Maybe this will be a catalyst for other Sea Shepherd supporters to also take a closer look at how they operate. Hopefully this will signal a start to more support for mainstream conservation efforts. Efforts that can affect real change, instead of just media hype and self promotion. Efforts that have not only lacked financial support, because of money that's going to Sea Shepherd, but efforts that have also been undermined by the extreme and often fruitless actions taken by Sea Shepehrd.

Again, one can only hope, but when it comes to Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson, hope is something that's running in short supply these days.

Cheers,

Martin Graf
Managing Director
Shark Diver
Sharkdiver.com

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.
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