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FAQs
 
 
 
1.

Are these people crazy?
 
   
Clinically, no. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is, however, caught between two lousy options. Countries won't enforce international conservation laws and marine animals are being hunted to extinction. Beyond laws and morality, Capt. Paul Watson argues that if the whales die, the oceans die; if the oceans die, we all die. Sea Shepherd has few resources, however — the group raises approx. $2½ million a year (by contrast, Greenpeace's fundraising is almost 100 times that amount). When minimal resources and ambitious goals are mixed together, the result can resemble insanity at times.
 
 
2.

What exactly is the relationship between Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace?
 
   
Paul Watson was one of the original members of Greenpeace — he was there the day the name was coined and his membership number, not by coincidence, is 007. Watson left Greenpeace in 1977 (he has called them "the Avon ladies of the environmental movement") and is the founder & head of Sea Shepherd, which describes its Antarctic efforts as law enforcement — a campaign of intervention rather than protest.
 
 
3.

If Sea Shepherd has been around for three decades, why do they sometimes seem so unprepared in "At the Edge of the World"?
 
   
Although the group has been operating for 30 years, this was only their third attempt to stop the fleet in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary. Mounting a 50-day campaign with two ships is enormously expensive, particularly for a group which can't even afford its own fuel and food. Also, no matter how detailed the preparations, the Ross Sea is an exceptionally dangerous place even when you're not actually looking for confrontations. Compounding the risk was the fact that Sea Shepherd's new ship, the Robert Hunter, was not an ice-class vessel — it had the speed to outrun the whaling ships if they could be found but unlike the Farley Mowat, its sister ship on the campaign, the Robert Hunter could easily sink if hit by ice or by another vessel.
 
 
4.

Why is the search for the whaling fleet such a long shot?
 
   
Without assistance from governments and their recon flights & satellite tracking, with the whaling fleet always on the move, the search is "needle-in-a-haystack" where the needle is trying to not be found. The two Sea Shepherd ships can each cover 300 miles a day but, to use a nautical expression, it's a big-ass ocean down there. The Ross Sea is 370,000 square miles and that's only one section of the search area.
 
 
5.

Are the "prop fouler" and the "can opener" designed to sink ships?
 
   
No. The "prop fouler" is intended to entangle around and disable another ship's propeller. As for the "can opener", given its appearance (a hunk of steel hydraulically extended from the Farley Mowat's starboard side), it suggests the worst possible intentions but is positioned to rip a hole in the hull of a ship above the water line and fuel tanks — again, disabling but not sinking.
 
 
6.

Are Sea Shepherd's efforts primarily focused against one country?
 
   
Antarctic whaling is done by a Japanese fleet, but Australia and New Zealand essentially turn a blind eye to what's occurring in their territorial waters. At other times of the year, Sea Shepherd fights various campaigns involving many countries. As helicopter pilot Chris Aultman explains in the film: "You have to pick your battles. Who knows, Iceland might be next."
 
 
7.

Are the volunteers primarily adrenaline junkies or "die-hard activists"?
 
   
Actually, most of the 46 volunteers have mainstream jobs (for example, one of the most passionate crew members featured in At the Edge of the World is an E.R. physician) — these people just wanted to be involved in this particular campaign at this particular time in their lives, not knowing when they volunteered that it was going to become a documentary. And they are truly an international mix: nearly 80% of the crew members, including the two captains, are from countries outside the U.S.
 
 
8.

What caused the fire on the Nisshin Maru?
 
   
No one knows for certain. Given that the ship is essentially a floating chemical factory (and that whale carcasses are flammable, as well) it's not surprising that this was the 2nd fire on the Nisshin Maru in the past 10 years. The real surprise was that luck intervened (the weather stayed calm for 8 days until the Nisshin could restart its engines) and Antarctica averted an environmental catastrophe.
 
 
9.

Are the Sea Shepherd crew members in "At the Edge of the World", in fact, pirates?
 
   
Yes. At the beginning of the campaign, the Farley Mowat lost its registry with Canada, then with Belize. Sea Shepherd was subsequently informed by the United Kingdom that its 2nd ship, the Robert Hunter, would soon lose its registry and would no longer be permitted to fly the Union Jack. Without a sovereign nation's flag, a vessel is officially a pirate ship — and, therefore, a target to be boarded & scuttled in any port or on the high seas. Whether motives are good or ill, it's tough being a pirate (particularly with an economic superpower as an adversary).
 
   
Before becoming pirates, the crew members had to deal with being pariahs. Prior to the campaign, South African authorities refused to permit the Farley Mowat to leave Cape Town. Capt. Alex Cornelissen & his crew snuck the ship out of harbor at 3am, lights off, following in the wake of a departing freighter and subsequently evading South Africaís navy. Watson, who'd just successfully negotiated an 11th-hour deal to acquire the faster ship, met the Farley Mowat in Melbourne. Cornelissen then flew to Scotland and with a skeleton crew sailed the newly purchased Robert Hunter, nicknamed "the Bob", across the Atlantic Ocean (through a hurricane early on) and eventually into Punta Arenas at the tip of South America. Before Japanese pressure could be brought to bear on the Chileans, the crew refitted the damaged engine and departed in the middle of the night through the Straits of Magellan heading for the Antarctic Ocean.
 
 
10.

If the Japanese fleet arrived in the Whale Sanctuary in November 2006, why didnít the Sea Shepherd ships try to intervene for more than a month?
 
   
The Farley Mowat was set to depart in early December, on Pearl Harbor Day, but a potentially catastrophic crack was discovered in one of the helicopter blades. The replacement blade did not align correctly with the other two blades, which also had to be sent from the U.S. and replaced. The Farley, about to lose its registry, was forced to head to sea and the chopper, once repaired, flew from Australia over the Bass Strait and Tasmania to rendezvous with the ship in the Tasman Sea. The Robert Hunterís arrival was delayed by a difficult Atlantic crossing.
 
 
11.

Why would a Zodiac launch without radio, flares or GPS?
 
   
In the heat of the moment under extreme pressure, sót happens. And a storm descended unexpectedly and quickly. And the ships fell out of visual contact with each other and the Zodiac. And the chopper couldn't fly once the weather turned treacherous. And...
 
 
12.

Why was the Mayday call issued not by The Farley Mowat (Capt. Watson's ship) from which the missing Zodiac was launched but rather by The Robert Hunter (Capt. Cornelissenís ship)?
 
   
The decision to issue a Mayday from any individual vessel rests with the captain — the final authority on that particular ship.