Anti-whaling activist group Sea Shepherd is stepping up pressure on the Federal Government to send an Australian customs vessel to the Southern Ocean this summer. The organisation says it has had word the Japanese whaling ship, the Nisshin Maru, is preparing to depart port any day.
This year a crew of 100 people from over 20 countries will be on board Sea Shepherd’s three vessels. The Sea Shepherd fleet is in the final stages of preparation for the voyage, but has not yet heard whether a Customs vessel will be following it south ::::
Become a Sea Shepherd member: www.seashepherd.org
Before the federal election the Coalition indicated it would want to send a Customs vessel to observe the whaling hunt and put pressure on Japan. The previous Labor Government resisted calls from Sea Shepherd to patrol the Southern Ocean.
However, last week a spokesman for Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the Government remained committed to “monitoring and observing” the Japanese fleet.
Sea Shepherd’s chairman, former Greens leader Bob Brown, says the Federal Government needs to honour its commitment.
“The Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt promised in May this year in the run to the election that if the Japanese whaling ships went south there’d be Customs vessels from Australia going south,” Mr Brown said. “So we need to hear from the Prime Minister that that promise to the Australian people will be kept.”
Sea Shepherd’s global head Alex Cornelissen says they are prepared for a rough ride.
“Every year we’ve seen more and more aggression from the Japanese side so I definitely think our crews are going to be facing some pretty serious situations,” Mr Cornelissen said.
Sea Shepherd’s Australian director Jeff Hansen says there were significant clashes last summer.
“They almost sunk the Bob Barker,” Mr Hansen said.
Sea Shepherd says the group saved about 930 whales last season, which was their most successful yet. The activist group’s fleet is expecting to depart in just over a week.
Japanese Whalers Heading South
Another summer chasing Japanese whalers in Antarctic waters and the Australian Government could be by their side this year? Last season there were dramatic confrontations between Sea Shepherd and Japanese whaling ships.
Andrea Gordon the ship manager for Sea Shepherd vessel the Bob Barker says it was aggressive but effective.
“We saved 932 whales, it’s our most successful season ever,” Ms Gordon said.
Japanese Whaling Fleet Kills Minke Whales in Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary
UPDATED! 5 January 2013: The Australian Government is facing fresh calls to monitor whaling in the Southern Ocean after footage released by activists shows Japanese whalers have made a successful start to this season’s hunt.
Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd says its three boats found all five ships from the Japanese whaling fleet, one with four dead minke whales onboard.
Sea Shepherd says the Japanese fleet was in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and that the activist group was working to drive the fleet from the area. It’s the first time the environmentalists and the whaling fleet have crossed paths this season.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt last month said the Government would send a plane to monitor the fleet, despite promises before the election to send a ship.
But Sea Shepherd Australia chairman Bob Brown says there is no sign of surveillance from the Federal Government.
“Sea Shepherd is committed to doing all it peaceably can to prevent this grotesque and cruel destruction,” Mr Brown said. “There’s three carcasses on the ship; a fourth carcass has been cut up. There’s blood all over the place, meat being carted around on this factory ship deck, offal and innards being dumped in the ocean. That’s just a gruesome, bloody, medieval scene which has no place in this modern world.”
Mr Brown expects Coalition ‘finger-waving’ over activists’ work, he has written to the Environment Minister, asking him to take urgent action to stop the whaling. But Mr Brown says he expects “finger-waving” from the Coalition directed at Sea Shepherd rather than Japan.
“A Customs vessel was promised with surveillance. That hasn’t happened,” he said.
“As a minimum, keep that election promise, have the surveillance … do what the Labor government failed to do: when you get the footage put it out to the world and let the world see what a disgusting operation this is.”
Acting Greens leader Richard Di Natale says the Government’s response is disappointing.
“This is a Government that has set a world record on breaking promises early on in its first term,” Mr Di Natale said. “This was a Government that said very clearly ‘We are going to send a vessel to monitor the activities of the Japanese whalers’.”
Environmentalists Waiting on International Court Ruling
Sea Shepherd says the Japanese fleet’s work in the sanctuary contravenes a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling.
Captain of The Bob Barker, Peter Hammarstedt, said the Japanese government has shown “flagrant disregard for international law by continuing their illegal whale hunt while the world patiently awaits a decision from the International Court of Justice”.
In June last year, then-Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus called on the ICJ to outlaw Japanese whaling before the start of the current whale hunting season. The court is yet to rule on the matter. Mr Brown says he does not believe there will be a decision before the end of the season.
Sea Shepherd Claims Japanese Whaling Fleet Closing in on Australian Whale Sanctuary
UPDATE! 9 January 2014: Activists chasing the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean say a harpoon ship is close to the Australian Whale Sanctuary. Crews on Sea Shepherd Australia’s ships are trying to get between whales and the Japanese, as part of their annual campaign to stop the hunt.
The activists say Japan’s harpoon ship Yushin Maru No. 3 is tailing the Bob Barker and they are approaching sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island. Sea Shepherd Australia chairman Bob Brown predicts the Japanese ship will follow the Bob Barker into Australian waters tomorrow morning.
Mr Brown says it is time for the Federal Government to intervene.
“This is an Australian territorial whale sanctuary, the Australian Federal Court has ruled that the Japanese have breached Australian law in their atrocious whale behaviour and there is in an injunction out restraining them,” Mr Brown said. “We’ve asked the Government to prevent this harpoon ship from entering our territorial waters. [It’s] no different to entering the Derwent…or entering Sydney Harbour, or Port Phillip. This ship should be told it’s not welcome here and the Japanese should have it made clear that if they do enter these waters they will get that injunction put on them and Australian law will be brought to bear on the captain and everybody on that ship.”
Mr Brown says the ship is the same one involved in the killing of whales depicted in graphic footage released by Sea Shepherd earlier this week. He says the rest of the Japanese fleet has split up and gone in different directions.
“It’s a tactic, it’s a cat and mouse game down there,” he said. “They have more ships than us and bigger ships at that, but Sea Shepherd has disrupted their whaling and intends to disrupt it again. It’s trying to keep our fleet separated as the factory ship moves to new whale killing ground but we have that covered.”
Environment Minister Greg Hunt has said the Government was ready to start monitoring the fleet, but the Japanese had not yet entered Australia’s search and rescue zone.
RELATED! Sea Shepherd Skipper Back Onboard
Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson, who is wanted by Interpol, has confirmed he is back onboard a vessel and ready to confront Japanese whalers. The Canadian conservationist’s whereabouts have been a mystery since July when he jumped bail in Germany, where he was arrested on charges stemming from a high-seas confrontation over shark finning in 2002 :: Read the full article »»»»
RELATED! Sea Shepherd Uses Drone to Hunt and Photograph Japanese Whalers
Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd has used a drone to find the Japanese whaling fleet 1,000 miles north of the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary. The crew onboard the Steve Irwin deployed the drone to successfully locate and photograph the whaling factory boat.
The drone, named Nicole Montecalvo was donated to Sea Shepherd by Bayshore Recycling and Moran Office of Maritime and Port Security (MOMPS) of New Jersey :: Read the full article »»»»
RELATED! Japan Halts Whale Hunting
The anti-whaling group claimed two of its boats, the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker, were rammed by a Japanese ship in Australian Antarctic waters. It said the attacks happened after they were ordered to leave the area by one of the boats in the Japanese whaling fleet.
It also claimed armed Japanese coastguards threw “concussion grenades” at activists on the ships. Japan’s fisheries agency has denied those reports, but confirmed that one of its factory ships, the Nisshin Maru, rammed two boats belonging to Sea Shepherd.
Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research has announced it has stopped work for the time being because it is too difficult to refuel. However, it said the clashes happened after activists came too close to a Japanese vessel which was refuelling :: Read the full article »»»»
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