Launching the Bandaro

Captain Paul Watson “scored a propaganda victory over Japan after it emerged, that he had bought his newest anti-whaling vessel from the Japanese government, apparently without its knowledge.

  • The Guardian December 11th, 2012.


That was an incredible coup back in 2012. We not only purc

hased the Seifu Maru but we had a Japanese crew deliver the vessel to Cairns where it was turned over to my crew and renamed the Sam Simon.


The Japanese government was furious that a Japanese government ship would become an anti-whaling ship and they said it would not happen again.


But it has indeed happened again. 


The Guardian reported on December 11th, 2012 that: “To compound Japan’s embarrassment, the 184-foot vessel was previously moored in Shimonoseki, home to the country’s Antarctic whaling fleet, after being retired by the meteorological agency in 2010.”


Twelve years later, the Captain Paul Watson Foundation has purchased the 212-foot Japanese government Fisheries Patrol vessel Arasaki registered in Tokyo.


We set up a company in the USA and another company in South Korea and made the purchase thanks to the generosity of my longtime friend and supporter John Paul DeJoria.


We changed the name to New Horizon put it under the temporary flag of Mongolia and hired a Japanese crew to deliver the ship to Busan, South Korea from there the ship departed for Hobart, Tasmania in Australia arriving on May 1st, 2024.


The reason for this purchase is in anticipation of the return of the Japanese whaling fleet to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. We need to be ready to return to the remote and hostile waters off the coast of Antarctica to once again intercept and shut down the illegal whaling activities of the Japanese whaling fleet.


And why do we think that Japan will be returning to the Southern Ocean to resume its controversial and unlawful whaling activities?


Because they retired the Nisshin Maru their former whaling factory ship and replaced it this year with the newly constructed Kangei Maru there is only one purpose for a large long-range whale factory ship and that is the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.


The Kangei Maru has just completed its sea trials. It will be ready to return to the Southern Ocean by the end of the year 2024.


For the past two years, two Japanese harpoon vessels Yushin Maru N. 2 and Yushin Maru No 3 have been doing non-lethal research in the Southern Ocean counting Fin whales and Minke whales. Finally, my off the record communications with Japanese journalists have given every indication that Japan intends to return to resume the killing of whales.


After our summer 2024 campaign to Iceland to block illegal whaling operations targeting endangered Fin whales, I will move our ship the John Paul DeJoria from the North Atlantic to Australia so that we will be in position to counter Japan’s unlawful Southern Ocean whale killing adventures with two fast long-range ships.


In 2014, the International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled that Japan’s Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary whaling operations were illegal. Japan abided by the ruling for one year and then began operations illegally again in 2016. In 2019 Japan announced that they would not be returning to the Southern Ocean. Some conservationists hailed this as a victory, but I knew it was a temporary reprieve and my concerns became justified by Japan’s announcement that they were building a replacement mother ship for the whaling fleet. It was obvious to me that the primary reason for Japan quitting whaling operations in 2019 was that the Nisshin Maru, their aging factory ship was no longer suitable for the task. It had to be replaced and it has now been replaced with the new Kangei Maru.


We will not be returning to the Southern Ocean as novices. Most of my crew will be Whale Wars veterans with plenty of experiences from the many annual campaigns between 2005 and 2015.


During that decade of campaigns, Japanese whale quotas were cut every year and a total of more than 6,500 whales were saved from Japanese harpoons.


It was a long dangerous and tedious campaign that resulted in lawsuits from Japan and my being placed on the Interpol Red Notice list for the charge of “conspiracy to trespass on a whaling ship.” The Red Notice forced me to escape from Germany and to travel halfway around the globe without any documentation to rejoin my ship the Steve Irwin off American Samoa in November 2012. In 2013 I was forced into exile on the islands of the South Pacific for six months before being allowed to return to the United States by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.


For the eleven years that I remained on the Red Notice I was not able to captain any of our ships and people who I trusted took advantage of the situation to remove me from the organization and to seize and control all the assets and the ships. Even more outrageous was that they completely abandoned our objectives and strategies to move the organization towards a more mediocre mainstream position citing that I was too confrontational and too controversial, the very things that had made our movement the success that it became.


With the arrival of our new ship the Bandaro, we have signaled that after two years, we are back and prepared to confront the whalers of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary for good.


We are now recruiting support for the Captain Paul Watson Foundation to confront the Icelandic whalers this summer and in December 2024 we will set off once again for the Southern Ocean to intercept, confront and engage the Japanese whaling fleet.


The whales now have their navy back. 

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