Dutch bill would hit Sea Shepherd

BRUSSELS (Kyodo) Urged on by repeated requests from Japan, the Dutch government has submitted to its legislature a bill that would strip a protest ship owned by Sea Shepherd of its Dutch registration.

The environmental group repeatedly uses the 59-meter Steve Irwin to chase whaling ships backed by Japan’s government.

The bill, if passed, would revise the country’s ship registry law, enabling the government to revoke the registry of a ship that harmed crew or cargoes of other ships or damaged Holland’s relationship with other countries.

In a paper submitted to the legislature, the Dutch government specifically pointed to Sea Shepherd, whose vessel the Steve Irwin rammed into a whaling ship and threw bottles of chemicals onto it. According to Japanese government sources, however, many Dutch oppose whaling and it is not clear if the bill will be passed. The process is expected to take up to six months.