According to a report recently published on SeaShepherd.com, Paul Watson, captain of the anti-whaling boat, Steve Irwin, was shot in the chest today while confronting the Japanese whaling vessel, Nisshin Maru, within the waters of the Australian Territorial Zone near Antarctica. Watson was wearing a Kevlar vest at the time of the shooting, a move that effectively stopped the bullet and saved his life. The shot was fired by a presently unknown gunman as Japanese Coast Guard members hurled flash bang grenades onto the deck of Steve Irwin. The doctor on board applied immediate medical attention to Watson and has been emphatic in saying that had Watson not been wearing a Kevlar vest, the bullet could have caused fatal damage.
Tensions between the Steve Irwin, and Nisshin Maru, have been escalating during the course of the past week. Recently, crewmembers from the Steve Irwin threw rotten butter aboard the Nisshin Maru, causing a horrible smell. Watson and his group of anti-whalers are accustomed to using an array of unusual tactics to stop illegal whaling.
Watson's proactive attitude and approach to ending illegal whaling has been outlined on the Sea Shepherd website:
"I did not establish the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as a protest organization," said Captain Watson. "I have not gone to sea over all these years to simply bear witness to the atrocities that whalers continue to inflict upon the most gentle and intelligent beings in the seas. We are sea cops—operating legally under the guidelines of the United Nation’s World Charter for Nature, which allow for the enforcement of international conservation law by non-governmental organizations in international jurisdictions." Despite the history of confrontation between the two parties, the news of Watson being shot came as a shock to many.
The past autumn, eco-activist Dave Rastovich joined Sea Shepherd and Paul Watson in an effort to raise awareness of illegal whale slaughter. Rastovich has been an outspoken supporter of Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd during the course of the last year.
For more information as this story develops, stay tuned to Surfermag.com.