Sunday, April 29, 2012
Blowing The Maritime Whistle
This is one of those stories within a story. The over arching story is about how lying to the Feds is a handy way to ensnare someone into the maw of justice that otherwise might not happen on any other basis.
Think Martha Stewart. Not tried for insider trading, but tried for lying about it. A Colombian drug lord is arrested making a pay phone call in Jackson Heights when he doesn't tell the Federal agents his real name. Apparently, the practice has withstood court challenges that claimed the defendant was being penalized for refusing to self-incriminate.
All the legalese aside, this story relates to the owner of a whale watch cruise who in the eyes of the Federal agency, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), lied to agents and altered evidence regarding her captain who whistled at whales.
Whales apparently enjoy protection from being harassed. I think women are protected from harassment from being whistled and verbally abused by construction workers at work sites if they happen to catch their attention and generate primal maleness that leaves the workers' mouths in abusive forms.
Maritime males are not felt to be any different than construction worker males, but their abuse is of a wholly different definition as it relates to whales. It seems the captain of a whale watch cruise is alleged to have used the boat's whistle to attract whales closer to the boat so that the patrons could get a better look.
And how was the captain outed? The owner of the cruise boat says the now ex-wife of the captain went to the Feds and inquired if there was anything wrong with whistling on a boat...at whales.
Turns out there is, and the folks at the NOAA started to look into it. The cascading effect of their interest has lead to nothing but problems for the cruise ship's owner, and apparently a divorce from a wife who may have known more about the rights of whales than her innocent inquiry might suggest.
I don't know what whales can truly hear, and how loud too loud might be. Through the magic of the Internet I do know William Congreve (1670-1729) wrote a play that contained the lines:
Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned,
Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.
Living in that era, I suspect he was at least a passenger on a ship several times.