Arrested Sea Shepherd Captain Pete Bethune Gets To Go Home


With protestors standing outside the Japanese courthouse calling Peter Bethune a terrorist, the judge inside gave the Sea Shepherd activist a two-year suspended sentence. Bethune was captain of the Ady Gil that was rammed and sunk by illegal Japanese whalers earlier this year. Bethune was arrested after he boarded the Japanese whaling ship Shonan Maru 2 to make a citizen’s arrest of its captain.


Peter Bethune has been in Japanese custody since the incident in February. He was charged with trespassing, vandalism, possession of a knife, obstructing business and assault. On July 7th, he pleaded guilty to all of the charges against him, except assault.


Bethune could have received up to 15 years in prison, but the judge handed down a two-year prison sentence, suspended for five years.  Bethune was found guilty on all five charges against him, including assault for throwing stink bombs made of butyric acid-rancid butter.


The suspended sentence means that Bethune will not spend time in prison.  In addition he is forbidden to return to Japan for the next five years.  Bethune will be deported to his home country of New Zealand on July 9th.


While the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is pleased Peter Bethune will get to go home, they released a story called Whale Warrior “Captain Pete Bethune” Free to Return Home that explains the injustice of the arrest and trial. 


Here are a couple of excerpts from that story:


“Captain Komura almost killed six Sea Shepherd volunteer crewmembers and did not respond to the Ady Gil’s mayday distress signal.  Japanese authorities refused to cooperate in investigations and declined requests by Australian and New Zealand maritime authorities to question Captain Komura.”


“The verdict of the Japanese court was always to be guilty. Sea Shepherd was never under any illusion that Captain Bethune would be given a fair trial. In court, there was no discussion of the reason why Captain Bethune boarded the Shonan Maru #2, and Captain Komura was not called as a witness; in short, the court never allowed any evidence of the Ady Gil’s destruction to be heard.”


“Captain Bethune is a hero to the Save the Whales movement and he will be welcomed home to New Zealand as a national hero for having the courage to do what his government was fearful of doing—defending whales from the Japanese poachers in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.“


Although the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society praised Bethune in their story, the organization has severed its ties with him for breaking their policies. 


Commercial whaling was outlawed in 1986, but Japan continues to kill hundreds of whales each year under the guise of “scientific research.”  Last month Japan was accused of bribing several countries to obtain a vote of support with the International Whaling Commission as they considered a plan to reinstate commercial whaling for Japan, Norway and Iceland on a limited basis. 


The measure failed and commercial whale hunting remains illegal, worldwide.  The anti-whalers plan to be in the waters to protect the whalers next season.


Creative Commons Quano Sea Shepherd - Research


Adam K.
Adam K.6 years ago

Im not a smart guy, but this Peter guy makes me feel smart. I think he should feel lucky to be alive. People like Peter make me sick. Grow up Peter.

arij I.
.7 years ago

Salam and may Allah/God Bless you Peter Bethune! You are in my mind a true hero. You have taken on a great cause. NO one needs to eat whales unless they are eskimo's perhaps..but in that case it is fine. It is about the money! I have not seen anyone mentioning that David Rockerfeller owns most of Japan. hmmm...the UN seems to have no impact..obviously, Japan does not care what we do or what anyone does. They will always do what they want to do ..end of sentence. That so reminds me of some other countries...the "terrorist" aspect does not bother me one bit! Muslims are called that stupid thing also. Wikipedia says the word has no definition. So...people can say what they wish, mostly always without seeking any truth or knowledge whatever. Thank you for the tolerant and intelligent comments made intelligent and tolerant peoples...arij

Joe E.
Joe E.7 years ago

Rebecca B.- Yes rebecca it was their idea he board, but he did not follow any policies as far as safety his whole time aboard ship after the ady gill incident.The only thing I have to say about them loser Japs is we should have finished the job back in WW 2. Shawn C who posted he likes whale meat is another idiot, maybe his loser butt should move to Japan if he wants to agree to their illegal whale hunts. Sea Shepherd, I want so badly to help you guys as an A & P licensed Aviation Mechanic. I would love to help with helicopter Ops and one day I will. If I were you guys after seeing that the Japs are willing to kill by ramming you, then you need to become just as vicious as them. Keep doing what you do Capt Paul... You have more supporters then protestors and who cares what those criminal Japs think. heck they will allow their kids to eat dolphion which is high in mercury, so if they are willing to kiill their kids then no wonder they will kill whatever

Rose Crawford
Rose Crawford7 years ago

Hi Captain Pete,
You are a hero, along with all the volunteers and Paul too.. All of you guys are heros in my book.. If my health would let me, and if I had the money to get to you, I'd join you in a heart beat.
Keep up the good work. We need our whales.. Those darn japs were liars in WWII and they are liars now.. Give em hell as we say in the southern part of the USA..

Shawn C.
Shawn C.7 years ago

I think it is an injustice that Pete Bethune was set free, after all the acts of terrorism, he has taken against the Japanese researchers. I watch the show Whale Wars with the hopes that the Japanese will finally get fed up and sink those idiots. The sea shepards are terrorists at best and freely admit what they do is harassment. The whales they hunt are not so endangered that some can't be harvested every year. Besides whale meat is so tasty. People all over the world have been living off whale meat for hundreds or thousands of years, and shouldn't have to stop because someone decided that whales are pretty to look at.

Alyssa H.
Alyssa H.7 years ago

Pete Bethune is a hero who stands up for what he believes in! I'm sad the sea shepherds couldn't stand by his side. I know he'll continue to help the whales, he's an incredible person.

Barbara R.
Barbara R7 years ago

Unfortunately, the video that accompanies this article was shot by the crew of the Shonan Maru 2 and does not tell the entire story. The Ady Gil was sent after the whaling fleet and had used up almost all of its fuel by the time reinforcements arrived and Captain Bethune stopped the Ady Gill. The boat was sitting dead in the water and all but one of the crew were sitting topside when the Shonan Maru turned into the Ady Gill. The claims by the Captain of the Shonan Maru were false. There is more detailed video on Animal Planet's "Whale Wars" which did not become available to the public until after the airing of that episode.

Joanne R.
Jo Roberts7 years ago

The kids of Australia are so glad that Pete is heading home - As for his actions we applaud him we are sick of talking about saving the whales time to ACT ! I can now sleep knowing that Pete is back home and the commercial whaling ban is still in place.

Past Member
Past Member 7 years ago

The Japanese courts are not fair to wildlife . Why should they be fair to humans??? No more hybrid hondas. Bring it on Ford.

Amber Fauller
Amber Fauller7 years ago

for those of you defending the Japanese whalers claiming the Ady Gil "rammed" the Japanese vessel I sure hope you have seen enough actual footage now to realize how idiotic your comments now are. Hopefully by now you clearly see it was the Japanese, and not by chance, but clearly intentional... I urge you to research, and see the extent of the damage being done by the japanese. Not just what you watch on Whale Wars or read/see by the media which lets face, can be spun in many different ways. A great film I believe all should see is "The Cove" which was banned in most theaters. I ordered through Netflix and it took months, but well worth it. This film centers in Japan.