Whale of a lawsuit

In the maritime world, one recent lawsuit getting some coverage is the one between the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Japanese shipping company Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha Ltd. Sea Shepherd is an activist organization that is working to stop whaling. One of their tactics is to prevent whaling by providing obstacles to whaling ships at sea. In January of 2010 one of its boats, Ady Gil, collided with Japanese ship Shonan Maru No. 2, owned by Kyodo Senpaku. Sea Shepherd contends the Japanese ship hit Ady Gil deliberately and is now suing for $3 million in damages.

Let’s back up for a minute, because Sea Shepherd’s lawsuit isn’t the first one. Kyodo Senpaku and Japanese foundation Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) filed a federal lawsuit in late 2011 against Sea Shepherd, alleging that Sea Shepherd disrupted ICR’s research. ICR and Kyodo Senpaku are represented by Miller, Nash LLP of Portland.

Sea Shepherd claims the Shonan Maru came after Ady Gil intending to do harm. Maritime New Zealand conducted an investigation of the accident and, according to Sea Shepherd, found fault with Shonan Maru for not taking evasive action to prevent the collision. Sea Shepherd, however, does not seem to be entirely innocent. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction against the society, saying Sea Shepherd cannot attack any boats associated with ICR, Kyodo Senpaku, and others.