UPDATE---July 10, 2012---Calls have gone out for support to persuade German authorities to allow Capt. Paul Watson to leave the country. A Day of Action is scheduled for July 20. Information about worldwide rallies and online petitions is being disseminated. Information, here.
Now it has gotten personal, as if it weren't already. This season's action on Animal Planet's Whale Wars has ramped up both in tactics and physicality.
Blood was drawn by swinging grappling hooks from crew members of the Yoshin Maru #2 that were direct hits to two Sea Shepherd activists on the small launches Delta and Humber.
The launches were on their third mission in less than two days that saw the vessels reach the side of the Japanese ship.
Video posted below of attempts to shut down engine cooling system of the Shonan Maru #2
The first was completed as dawn rose over territorial waters of Australia, depositing three unaffiliated volunteer activists on the Shonan Maru #2. Successfully done, the mission became a failure when the activists' presence on the Japanese ship did not keep it from continuing its relentless pursuit of the Steve Irwin, with Capt. Paul Watson on board. Update: The season finale details how the year's campaign ends.
Watson decided to use Australian nationals to cause a political mess broadcast by media. In that way he hoped to force the government to detain the Shonan Maru and keep the citizens from becoming part of a high seas chase, allowing Watson and his crew to make a run towards accomplishing the ultimate purpose --- disrupting the whaling ship Nisshin Maru.
The Steve Irwin's progress had been halted and reversed as it was forced to accompany the Bridgette Bardot back to port after severe damage to its hull. It was shadowed by the Shonan Maru #2 and Capt. Watson began to think creatively. His media firestorm strategy ultimately failed but the tactics of putting three men on the Japanese ship without being noticed was daring as well as perfectly executed.
Whale Wars began to look like a real life summer popcorn movie thriller without sophisticated weaponry, executed by crew members who risked their freedom and bodies as one would expect from soldiers trained for special-ops missions.
When Capt. Watson had to regroup, he decided that stalling tactics of the physical kind were necessary and the Delta and Humber were sent out again. The crew was successful in using what one called equipment straight out of Game of Thrones.
They might have looked medieval but they worked. Metal locking rods for the ship's railing trailed metal objects on long lines that drifted under the Japanese ship's propeller were meant to slow its progress, but the Shonan Maru's crew was ready and attempted to remove the lines with grappling hooks
To save the mission the Delta and Humber went alongside to cut lines off the grappling hooks. They were met with resistance in the form of long wooden poles that shoved at Watson's men, hitting them enough to disrupt them. A tug of war ensued with the poles, ultimately keeping the Sea Shepherd men at bay.
When a second attempt was made, the men of the security boat used the grappling hooks as weapons. Swinging them around their heads they aimed them at the Delta and Humber, injuring two of the men. The episode concluded with fans wondering about the fate of the injured.
Captain Watson had attempted political intrigue pushed along by media hype, then forceful measures to escape from the shadow of the Japanese security boats. As he directed the action he remained calm, even during his media interviews to stir the action. His critics would call him cold blooded while his true believers look at him as Yoda-like.
It was the so-called eco-terrorists vs. the Watson dubbed international law breakers on the high seas. Luckily for Watson, his other ship, the Bob Barker eluded its security boat tail in a clever maneuver as they head ever closer to the site of the whaler and its mission to kill the mammals.
Previous episode summaries from Animal Planet's site, here. Image: Wikimedia