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Solidarity Calls For Activists Held Hostage By Japanese Whalers

IMC UK Features | 15.01.2008 20:20 | Animal Liberation | Repression | World

During the early hours of this morning, two crew members of the Sea Shepherd vessel, 'Steve Irwin', have been taken hostage by the Japanese harpoon vessel 'Yushin Maru No. 2'. Benjamin Potts 28, an Australian citizen and Giles Lane, 35, a British citizen, are being held onboard the whaling vessel which is currently on the run. Both men boarded the vessel to deliver a letter to the Japanese captain stating that the whalers were in violation of international conservation law by targeting endangered species in an established whale sanctuary and in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling. They also notified the captain that Australia had just passed a court ruling barring Japanese whalers from the Australian Antarctic Economic Exclusion Zone. Once they boarded the vessel they were assaulted and tied to the railings of the whaler. They were then moved and tied to a radar mast. The Japanese vessel has not responded to messages in English or Japanese from the Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson to release the hostages.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ship 'Steve Irwin' has been in full pursuit of five vessels of the Japanese whaling fleet including the Japanese supply vessel 'Oriental Bluebird' since this morning. The Japanese factory ship 'Nisshin Maru' has fled over 700 miles to the northwest and is heading towards South Africa accompanied by the Greenpeace ship Esperanza. The entire whaling fleet is on the run. According to the Sea Shepherd no whales have been able to be slaughtered for the last four days and it does not look as if the whaling operations are going to begin again for another week at least, and not at all if the vessels are prevented from regrouping. Crew members from the Sea Shepherd ship 'Steve Irwin' point out they have a "good supply of fuel and can remain in the area for some time and will continue to police the illegal whaling operations by the Japanese fleet".

Contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office:
Contact the Japanese Embassy:
Phone: London 020-70081500 / Edinburgh 0131-225-4777 / Dublin 01-202-8300 | Web: List of Japanese Embassies

Solidarity Protest Reports: DC Protest For Sea Shepherd Hostages Video | Sea Shepherd Solidarity Protest at Japanese Embassy, Berlin | Sea Shepherd demo, Barcelona | NYC Protest for Sea Shepherd Hostages | Hostage Release Demonstration, London

Recent Updates: Sea Shepherd Hostages Return Back to Steve Irwin | Whalers Hands Activists Over To Australia's Ship | Whalers threaten to take activists to Japan | Sea Shepherd Crew Remain Hostages On The Japanese Whaling Ship | Whalers Make Demands Over Hostages | Sea Shepherd considering rescue mission

Previous feature: Japanese Whaling Ship rams Greenpeace vessel

On the newswire: Video of Sea Shepherd Activists Taken Hostage | Sea Shepherd volunteers 'detained' by Japanese whalers | URGENT - protestors held hostage by Japanese wailing ship | British Sea Shepherd activist held hostage on Japanese whaler | Japanese whalers take Sea Shepherds hostage | Call out for solidarity demonstration

Links: Sea Shepherd Convervation Society | Greenpeace campaign against whaling | Wikipedia on Japanese Whaling

Audio demo interview with Darren from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - mp3 2.1M

Giles Lane is tied up, while colleague Benjamin Potts is already bound
Giles Lane is tied up, while colleague Benjamin Potts is already bound

All of this activity has taken place in the area of 60 Degrees South and 78 Degrees East. All activity has been documented from the Sea Shepherd helicopter and the fast moving Delta vessel. The Steve Irwin has dispatched a small fast Delta boat and a helicopter to attempt to persuade the Yushin Maru No. 2 to stop and release the hostages. Captain Paul Watson has notified the Australian Federal Police that he would like to see kidnapping charges brought against the Japanese whalers. The Australian government and the British Embassy have been informed that their citizens are being held hostage on an illegally operated Japanese whaling ship in International waters.

Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson will turn over authority to the Australian government to enforce the court ruling against illegal whaling in the Australian Antarctic Economic Exclusion Zone upon request from the Australian government and an agreement that Australia will enforce the court's ruling to bar all Japanese whaling activities in the Australian Antarctic Territory.

The letter taken aboard:

To: The Captain of any Japanese ship involved with poaching operations in The Australian Antarctic Territorial Economic Exclusion Zone.


My name is Giles David Lane

I am a British citizen and an unpaid volunteer on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel Steve Irwin.

I have come onboard your ship because you have refused to acknowledge communication from our ship pertaining to your illegal activities in the waters of the Australian Antarctic Territorial Economic Exclusion Zone.

I am not boarding your ship with the intent to commit a crime, to rob you or to inflict injury upon your crew and yourself or damage to your ship. My reason for boarding is to deliver the message that you are in violation of international conservation law and in violation of the laws of Australia. It is my intent to deliver this message and then to request that you allow me to disembark from your vessel without harm or seizure.

I am empowered to act to uphold these laws in accordance with the United Nations World Charter for Nature and the laws of Australia.

I am boarding you with the request that you please refrain from any further criminal activity in these waters and cease and desist with the continued killing of endangered whales in this designated Whale Sanctuary in violation of the IWC global moratorium on commercial whaling and that you cease and desist in continued violations of Australian law by killing whales within the territorial waters of Australia without permit or permission from the government of Australia.

I am boarding you on the orders of Captain Paul Watson who requests that you treat me with respect and in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

Background articles from Indybay: Activists held Hostage by Whalers in Whale Sanctuary | Japanese Whaling Found to be Illegal under Australian Law | Sea Shepherd: Japanese Whalers Kidnap Whale Defenders | Japanese Whaling fleet Found by Greenpeace in Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary | Australia: Animal Liberation protests whaling slaughter at Japanese Consulate | Commercial Whaling given Unofficial nod by US-Japan deal | Australia: Animal Liberation targets Japanese Consulate over Whaling | Whaling Protests continue despite Reprieval for Humpbacks | Sea Shepherd extends olive branch to Greenpeace to find Whalers | New Zealand Yachtie to challenge Japanese Whaling Fleet | Sea Shepherd Halts Hunt for Whalers to seek Repairs in Hobart | Australia: Conservation groups call on Government to act on Whaling | Whaling Confrontation Brewing in Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary

IMC UK Features


Solidarity Demos

17.01.2008 22:52

Were also in London, Barcelona & New York. All have been posted in the newswire...



Display the following 5 comments

  1. More action — solidarite
  2. Media Barrage, petition& protest embassy — Johnny
  3. my heart goes out to them — Tony Gosling
  4. Guardian Comment — qwerty
  5. Why are — Viewer