It was inspirational to hear about a young sailor from Maharashtra, India who is storming the icy waters of the Southern Ocean right now in a crusade against whaling. Siddharth Chakravarty, a third generation sailor from Nashik is a qualified seaman and the first volunteer from India to sign on for the high-risk, direct-action campaign by the international non-profit conservation organization Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Chakravarty is currently taking the Japanese whaling fleet head-on, the first time an Indian is at the helm of the society’s flagship vessel M/Y Steve Irwin. He will be navigating the vessel through mountainous seas riddled with icebergs to track down and intercept the Japanese whaling fleet. The 28 year-old sailor will guide and steer the ship on a course that will bring it into direct conflict with the whalers.
His primary task will be to find the fleet’s factory ship, the Nisshin Maru, and block its stern to prevent any whales being dragged up the slipway. “The aim is to bring an end to so-called scientific whaling and protect the southern hemisphere’s whale population from further slaughter. We want to permanently end illegal whaling in the Southern whale sanctuary which is protected by an international moratorium”, the young sailor says.
A decade of ferrying oil tankers and forest products around the globe nudged his conscience about the environmental impact of his work . The research he subsequently started led him to realise the discharges at sea of marine oil and other waste. “I felt conflicted by the consummate callousness of the shipping industry which manifests itself most clearly in the pollution of the waterways, arising out of commercial shipping operations, and accidental discharge from ships which, in turn, have crippling effects on marine life,” he says. Thereafter he has worked to stop illegal poaching of the endangered bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Libya.
All the very best to the crusader!