On the Ninth Circuit's New Definition of Piracy: Japanese Whalers V. The Sea Shepherd - Who are the Real 'Pirates' (i.e. Plunderers)?
Journal of Maritime Law & Commerce, Vol. 45, No. 4, 2014
30 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2016
Date Written: 2014
The word piracy conjures up images that have terrorized mankind throughout history. A pirate was a robber, a murderer, and a plunderer who attacked merchant vessels and towns by the coast. To call the anti-whaling Sea Shepard group “pirates” is simply beyond the pale.
This article will review the Ninth Circuit’s decision to see if it was correct in holding that these interventionists were “pirates,” rather than considering their acts of violence as maritime torts. In order to discuss the proper use of the terms, it is necessary to look at the legislative history of the definition of piracy found in UNCLOS. Even though the Ninth Circuit has used a “plain meaning” rule to define “private ends,” this article will demonstrate that the Sea Shepard participants and the Sea Shepard Corporation have not actually committed acts of “piracy.”
Keywords: Ninth Circuit, Piracy, Maritime Torts, UNCLOS, Sea Shepard, Pirate, Plunderer, Whaling, Whale, Interventionist
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