Is this bloke a heroic environmental crusader – or an uncertified lunatic?
Alf refers to the New Zealand protester who boarded a Japanese whaling ship and incurred a knife-wound on his left hand.
Pete Bethune clambered aboard the Shonan Maru 2 on Monday morning to stage a citizen’s arrest of its skipper, despite the Japanese ship being hung with nets and anti-boarding spikes.
A citizen’s arrest on the High Seas?
Yep. That’s what he was up to, according to AAP, which seriously suggests he is a sandwich or two short of the proverbial picnic.
Captain Bethune, who was the skipper of the sunken protest vessel the Ady Gill, wants the whalers to face attempted murder charges.
He had waited for the Shonan Maru 2 ship early on Monday morning on a jet ski, being driven by another protester, under the cover of darkness.
The incident occurred in international waters between Heard Island and Antarctica.
So there we have it.
He didn’t set out to make his citizen’s arrest on a frigate or some other appropriately armed vessel to show he has some muscle to flex. Nope. He set out on a jet ski.
On Monday night, Japan’s pro-whaling Institute of Cetacean Research issued a statement saying Captain Bethune cut his hand while climbing aboard its vessel.
“Mr Bethune illegally boarded the Shonan Maru 2 … after using a knife to cut the vessel’s protection net,” the institute said.
“At that time, Mr Bethune cut his left thumb and has since received medical treatment from the Japanese crew.
“The Ady Gill skipper told the crew that, after boarding the Shonan Maru 2, he had thrown the knife into the sea.”
We should not be surprised to learn that the Japanese crew failed to put up their hands and say it’s a fair cop, guv, as Cap’n Bethune clambered on board to make his arrest.
They flung the bugger into the brig.
The institute also claimed that Captain Bethune was “restrained” by the captain of the Shonan Maru 2 “in line with the Japanese Mariners Act” and was now “being held in custody on board”.
Oh dear. The Lone Ranger has been captured.
He will be taken back to Japan – according to a news report this morning – and will face the Japanese judicial system.
So did Alf go into a steep emotional decline on hearing this news?
Alf reckons Cap’n Bethune’s lawyers have a good case for pleading the bugger was mentally unhinged when he committed whatever offence they charge him with. Dunno if that counts for much in the Japanese judicial system.
But when he is released – from a Japanese prison, lunatic asylum or simply from custody if he is found not guilty – Alf can suggest another mission for this latter-day Don Quixote of the seas.
If Bethune seriously thinks he can succeed in leaping aboard somebody else’s boat, just like that, to proclaim he is making a citizen’s arrest, then he should take his jet ski to Somalia. There are heaps of dangerous pirates plaguing the seas off that benighted country, robbing, murdering and kidnapping hapless sailors.
Cap’n Bethune could apply his talents to making those seas safe again.