I feel so bad for the crews manning five Japanese whaling vessels.
It seems that since leaving port the crews have had to deal with super cold weather, constant hassling from a small group of environmental terrorists, and now a fire on their primary ship.
First, I'd like to say "WTF!?!" to the environmental terrorists that have been harassing the people on these vessels. They call themselves the "Sea Shepherd Conservation Society", but I think it's a typo on their part. I think they meant to call themselves "Unemployable Jackasses From Mars". I use the term "terrorist" as a descriptor because of the tactics they employ. I can't believe this is a Canadian organization ... it just doesn't make sense.
I can understand that people may not be happy with whaling, considering how we (humans) have been hunting these creatures for centuries to harvest not only for food, but lamp fuel, mechanical lubricant and a host of other uses. We've brought some species right to the brink of extinction in our carelessness, but we've learned from our mistakes and many species are begining to make a slight comeback.
Do these life forms deserve to have some kind of protection from us? Absolutely.
Does this give other humans the right to be retards? No.
There are ways to accomplish goals in this world, and there are ways to make yourself look like an idiot to the world. I admit that I look like an idiot quite often, but even I have my limits as to how far I'll sink in the eyes of my peers. The fishing vessels that were being harassed were operating on legal permit from their government. If the Sea Shepherd's want to raise a stink, they should discuss it with our politicians and request some form of dialog be opened with the offending government. If these "conservationists" want to send a vessel out to monitor the actions of these whaling vessels to ensure the legal limits are not breached, and no other endangered species are accidentally captured or killed, then so be it. But observe. Don't assault crew members with bottles of acid.
I often wonder where these groups get the money to make all these global trips. Filling an ocean-going vessel with enough fuel to chase five Japanese cruisers around the Antarctic isn't cheap. You'd think the SSCS would send some more intelligent people instead.
I'll admit that it's not easy to get governments to listen to the people they've sworn to serve. They have lots of people shouting at them, and only so many hours in a day. While working with governments it's often wise to show some form of restraint to ensure your messages are better heard. Being stupid will just destroy any credibility you may have once carried.
It's also important to look at why certain countries are whaling, and try to offer solutions to their needs.
Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Japan are some countries that still whale. But these countries do not go out and slaughter these creatures en masse. Each country has their own imposed limitations. Greenland and Japan still eat whale meat. Iceland collects less than 40 in the name of science. Norway also gets a few under the guise of science. While these numbers are still higher than the zero that many conservationists would like to see, it's a much better sight than the horrid slaughter that took place by many of the European nations up until the early 20th century.
I'm not saying that we should go out and take the life of whatever animal we choose so long as we benefit from it. Heck, I still have a hard enough time eating meat twice a week knowing that something died to give me nourishment. But while the earth seems to shrink all the time, the planet is still large enough for most of us. Rather than make yourself look inept on a global scale by sending your dullest, it may be better to work with the systems in place with your brightest. It's not perfect, but only through open and frank discussion can differences in opinion be ironed out and a compromise met.
I only hope it happens before potentially irreversible damage is caused.