Monday, November 17, 2008

Whale Wars

I watched Whale Wars on the Animal Planet this weekend. It is the story about a bunch of militant yet peaceful hippies trying to enforce an unenforceable law in international waters. They try to board whaling vessels, from Japan, and show them a letter saying that what they are doing is illegal in Australia. The problem is that they are not in Australia. They are in international waters.

First and foremost, a little something about international law... There is no such thing. If a law is passed, as in this case, in Australia, that law is only enforceable in Australia. It can not be enforced in international waters. The only way you can enforce laws in international waters is with military force, or by getting the offenders to dock in a country where the law was broken and arresting them then. BUT if a "crime" occurs on a boat in international waters it is up to the crew to report it in the country that the boat is registered in, or the crew member's country of origin. If that "crime" is not a "crime" in the country of origin then I very much doubt that you will be prosecuted for anything.

SO, first the hippies start out and find that this boat does not sail in the calm waters of the Caribbean, it sails in the horribly choppy waters of the Antarctic. Everybody gets sea sick.

The next thing made me nearly throw my TV out the window... As one of the crew members was doing some cleaning work on the helicopter, he dented one of the rotor blades with a tool. So one of the blades has a huge chip in the trailing edge.
State side this would have absolutely put the helicopter in the shop. The rotor is the wing of the helicopter and any nick, chip, or deformity in that wing makes the aircraft unsafe for flight. All pilots in their preflight checks make sure that their propellers, or rotors are chip, and deformity free before they start their engine. If something is found the flight is scrubbed. If you fly with that deformity, it creates vibration that can cause changes in your flight characteristics, or even cause your prop/rotor to fly off killing you deader than Dickens.

These idiots decide that they will simply do some minor flight tests to see if the helicopter can fly. The captain agrees. Holy freaking crap. If I am on that boat, I immediately realize that the captain has absolutely no regard for the safety of his ship or the safety of his crew. He is willing to sacrifice your life for the lives of the whales. Awesome.
Even on military ships where calculated risks are taken, they never make a move that would sacrifice safety in such a way.
They do the test flight and despite a little vibration and a weird whistling noise, they think everything is cool and will continue to use the helicopter.
An aircraft is not a car. You can't just pull off to the side of the road if you have problems. Especially in roting wing aircraft if you loose your engine, or if there are any problems you fall out of the sky like a stone. I my opinion, this "pilot" is endangering his aircraft, his life, the lives of his passengers, and the lives of his crew members. No self respecting pilot would do that. And no pilot would have respect for anyone who would do such a thing.

Then the idiots decide that they want to launch one of their rubber boats. They put one of their newest crew members, one who has never launched a boat from a ship in his life, in one of the most critical positions, on the bow line. Then all of the people going on the boat, got in to the boat.
This should have thrown a red flag for somebody, because normally only the coxswain will get in to the launch craft the boat will be put in to the water THEN the rest of the crew will board, but remember these people don't care about the safety of the crew, so off they went. Of course, the boat was put in to the water at a horrible angle because the bow line was not held properly, the boat broke its moorings, and capsized, throwing the whole crew in the freezing Antarctic sea. Luckily everybody was wearing their survival suits, so no one died of exposure, but it was a close call.

Now these geniuses decide to board a Japanese fishing vessel. For some reason they think that these guys will just let them walk on board and hand the captain a letter. The Japanese are under orders to treat the idiots like pirates. Know what that means? The Japanese can detain the idiots and haul their asses back to Japan for trial. The Japanese are also within their rights to fire upon the pirate vessel.
It is a good thing that the Japanese are such pussies, cause if you would have been taking on a Brazilian whaling vessel you would be full of holes before you got within 100 meters of the ship.

So everybody freaks out while the Japanese detain their crew members. The captain stands there with a stupid look on his face while his underlings run around trying to send pictures to the media. Just like a liberal to leave self defence and the defence of others to somebody else.

The show ends there, but there promises to be more misadventures with the hippies later.


Daniel said...

I wasn't going to watch this until I read your post. Now I'm hooked and I *HATE* this show. Their methods, tactics, and 'mission' are all ridiculous. And the Captain is a spineless jackass who won't make the hard decisions without consent from the crew - what?! I would take all this effort and money they seem to have and build exploding robot whales. That'll teach um...

Natto Ninja said...

Agreed. If you are going to be pirates, at least be the kind that has some nuts!!