Sunday, February 12, 2012

Japanese Blast Sea Shepherd Activist Off His Jet Ski

Boom Boom Pow watch out!! Environment News Service

THE SOUTHERN OCEAN, February 11, 2012 (ENS) - Beck Straussner, 42, of the United States was hit in the chest with a water cannon and knocked off his jet ski today during a confrontation between a Japanese whaling vessel and whale defenders near Antarctica.

Captain Watson commands the Steve Irwin. This is the eighth consecutive year that he has taken ships to the Southern Ocean to fulfill his stated mission by exposing and confronting illegal activities on the high seas.

Straussner, from Maui, Hawaii, was in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica in his capacity as the 2nd Officer on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's flagship vessel, the Steve Irwin.

Established in 1977 by Captain Paul Watson to conserve and protect ecosystems and species, Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit conservation organization on a mission "to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans."

Watson maintains that what the Japanese call "research" whaling, allowed by the International Whaling Commission, is, in fact, illegal.

In a strategic battle at sea that began in December, the Japanese harpoon vessel Yushin Maru No. 2 had been tailing the whale defenders' ship for weeks.

Today, at 1700 Hours Eastern Australia Standard Time, about 580 miles off Marie Byrd Land, Captain Watson deployed three inflatable boats and the jet ski to interfere with the tailing vessel.

He says the maneuver was an attempt to force the Yushin Maru No. 2 to slow down and fall behind, allowing the Steve Irwin to escape.

He says Straussner was knocked off his jet ski into subzero Antarctic waters when he was struck in the chest by one of the water cannons on the Japanese harpoon vessel. The Yushin Maru No. 2 did not stop to offer assistance.

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