Anti-Whaling Campaigners Held in Contempt

Anti-whaling activist Paul Watson and his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society were held in contempt of court and sanctioned $2 million for violating an injunction barring them from messing with Japanese whale-hunting researchers.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the sanction order late Friday.

The appeals court, which has previously called the group “pirates,” found that although the group transferred its vessels to subsidiaries around the world they continue to interfere with the Japanese.  Despite an order to remain 500 yards from whaling and fueling vessels on the open sea, the group continues to harass the Japanese vessels to prevent the killing of whales in the Southern Ocean.

Tactics in the past have included throwing smoke bombs and glass containers of acid at Japanese ships; dragging metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers; throwing flares at nets hung from the ships to start fires and shining lasers at ships to disturb the crew.

They also piloted their own boat to make collisions with Japanese ships highly likely, according to the court.

“In addition to holding Watson in contempt as the Executive Director of Sea Shepherd US, we hold him in contempt for personally violating the injunction by coming within 500 yards of one of the plaintiffs’ vessels,” wrote Judge Milan Smith for the panel.


Case: Institute of Cetacean Research v. Sea Shepherd, No. 12-35266



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