Roughan on Bethune

John Roughan writes in the Herald:

mortgaged his house to build himself the boat of his imagination, a weird biofuelled motor trimaran, and set out to race around the world in it a few years ago. That adventure ended when his craft collided with a fishing skiff of Guatemala and a fisherman was killed. He was detained by Guatemalan authorities but not charged and was allowed to leave after paying compensation to the dead man’s family.

So Bethune has had a collision before, and was liable for a man’s death to the extent he was obliged to pay compensation for the death.

If someone wants to hurtle around a working ship with the expressed intention of getting in the way of its operations I don’t have much difficulty deciding where fault lies.

Sea Shepherd have had eight collisions with other boats. As far as i know the Japanenese whalers have never ever collided with another boat – except Sea Shepherd ones.

Sea Shepherd has done stuff like stick 100 tonnes of concrete on their bow to enable it to ran and disable other ships. They have even laid mines three times on ships to sink them. They throw acid at crew members.They have fired guns at police.

Even Greenpeace regard them as violent nutters. Before he became their biggest fan in Opposition, even Chris Carter denounced them:

New Zealand Conservation Minister Chris Carter criticized Sea Shepherd as irresponsible for using tactics such as running into the other vessel with a “can opener” device, a seven-foot steel blade on the starboard bow designed to damage the hull of an enemy ship

While today Carter says:

He has a few sympathisers in this country. Labour MPs like Chris Carter call him a “great New Zealander”

Such consistency.

In this case Bethune is probably content to stay where he is for a while, drawing continuing attention for his cause. Back here, his family may be missing him but they are accustomed to long absences. When he got himself taken by the whaler his wife Sharyn said: “Nothing really surprises us these days.” She estimated that over the past five years he had been home for a total of one.

Puts into context the newspaper stories about how upset his family were that he would not be there for a child’s birthday.

Hat Tip: Keeping Stock

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