A second Cove Guardian has been denied entry to Japan!

Cristen landed in Osaka the evening of November 1st. She was asked to accompany the authorities for secondary questioning after reaching customs. She then was detained in a small room where she was interrogated for over six hours. During the questioning her phone, social media, body and luggage was searched.

Tracking the Chinese Squid Fleet in the South Pacific – Part 1: Voyage to the Galapagos

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When monitoring vessel activity on the vast scale of the world’s oceans at SkyTruth we know we’re almost always dealing with incomplete information. For example, only some vessels transmit their locations at sea via the Automatic Identification System (AIS), while others may only come up in a particular government’s private Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) or we may just see them as blips on a radar screen. So I was excited to hear that I was invited to accompany a vessel actually going out to investigate one of the fleets we have been monitoring with AIS and night imagery. The ship I would board is the M/V Brigitte Bardot, a 35 meter former racing vessel now run by Sea Shepherd, an international non-profit dedicated to taking direct action for marine conservation. In 2016 Sea Shepherd was able to track down some unusual vessel activity that we spotted in the Indian Ocean with spectacular results.  This time we would be tracking a much larger fleet fishing for squid in international waters 700 miles west of the Galapagos.

Veteran Cove Guardian Angela Banovic has been denied entry into Japan!

Angela landed in Osaka the night of August 29th. She was detained and interrogated in a small room for over five hours. During the questioning her body and luggage was searched.

Angela has participated in the Cove Guardian campaign on two previous occasions, with the more recent in 2015 as a ground leader. As with all Cove Guardians, Angela has never been arrested or detained, in Japan or elsewhere, she has never violated any Japanese laws and she has always conducted herself with the utmost of respect toward everyone, while in Japan.

In the recent years, Japan has begun to regularly deny and exclude any Sea Shepherd volunteer from entry into their country. They first began targeting our veteran crew members, hoping this would somehow stop our campaign and when that failed, they ramped up their harassment of Sea Shepherd.

In 2016, new laws were passed that strictly apply to Sea Shepherd crew members. Under these laws our volunteers could face criminal charges, be arrested and deported for acts that they have defined as “terrorism” and “conspiracy”, simply for peacefully taking photos and video. Because of these threats, for the first time in 10 years, no Cove Guardians were present during the 2017/2018 slaughter season, however this year the crew has resolved to face whatever consequences or punishments come their way, as they believe that bringing the truth to light is more important and valuable than their personal freedom.

All other NGOs, as well as independent individuals have always and are still allowed to enter the country and travel to Taiji, yet they employ the same exact methods as Sea Shepherd to document the activity at the killing cove.

Make no mistake about it, Angela was denied entry into this country, simply because she is a Sea Shepherd volunteer, and this is unjust discrimination, as Japan wants to continue to prevent Sea Shepherd from exposing their ruthless and cold-blooded dolphin slaughter for the world to see.

With the exception of 2017/2018, each year since 2010, Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians have been on the ground in Taiji daily throughout the six-month drive hunt season – which spans from September 1 until March – documenting and live streaming every capture and slaughter of dolphins and small whales as part of our dolphin protection campaign, ensuring the eyes of the world remain on Taiji’s infamous killing cove. Sea Shepherd was the first organization to expose this atrocity in 2003, when our photographer Brooke MacDonald captured the first horrific images of the dolphin drive.

Our Cove Guardian volunteers have documented time and time again the inextricable link between captivity and the slaughter. In Taiji, dolphin killers and trainers work side-by-side to hand-pick the “prettiest” dolphins (those without visible scars) to be sold for captivity. This occurs simultaneously to the slaughter process, and newly imprisoned captive dolphins must witness the murder of their family members before their very eyes. Those taken captive are transported to Taiji Harbor’s holding pens or are immediately taken to one of three captive

facilities in Taiji. Some are ultimately sold to other aquariums in Japan or overseas to end up in China, the Middle East, and elsewhere.