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Whalers harassed by Sea Shepherd in Australian Antarctic waters

Takver - Sydney Indymedia | 27.12.2008 02:31 | Animal Liberation | Ecology | Ocean Defence | World

The Japanese whaling ship Haiko Maru emerged from dense fog in front of the the Sea Shepherd MV Steve Irwin, crewed by anti-whaling activists about 0730 GMT December 26th, 2008. During manourvers by both ships a collision occurred causing minor damage to both ships, and no injuries, in Antarctic waters within the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone and Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, north of the Mawson Peninsula.

Photo: Institute of Cetacean Research, Tokyo. Sea Shepherd harasses Kaiko Maru
Photo: Institute of Cetacean Research, Tokyo. Sea Shepherd harasses Kaiko Maru

Australian citizen Jeff Hansen from Perth, Western Australia, delivered a message over the radio in Japanese calling on the Japanese whaling ship to cease whaling operations and leave Australian territorial waters.

The Kaiko Maru had been undertaking a detour in the ice pack area after completing the day’s research activities, according to the Institute Of Cetacean Research (ICA).

The Steve Irwin pursued and came alongside the Kaiko Maru for anti-whaling activists to throw 10 bottles of rotten butter and 15 bottles of a methyl cellulose and indelible dye mixture.

According to the Sea Shepherd news report "As the Steve Irwin came alongside the starboard side of the Kaiko Maru, the whaler steered hard to starboard and struck the Steve Irwin lightly crushing part of the aft port helicopter deck guard rails on the Sea Shepherd ship. There was no serious damage to either ship."

According to a press release by the Institute Of Cetacean Research "The Steve Irwin rammed the Kaiko Maru from the starboard rear side and spent a number of hours in dangerous close-quarter harassment of the Japanese vessel, repeatedly overtaking and circling the Kaiko Maru."

The ICA confirmed that the "topside starboard rear bulwark was damaged" but the damage is "no hindrance to its present operation and research activities".

After the collision, the Sea Shepherd repeatedly overtook and turned around the Kaiko Maru for approximately three hours, according to the ICA, then the Sea Shepherd ship changed course to the east.

Sea Shepherd has been pursuing the whaling fleet east for a week through heavy fog, dense ice and blizzard conditions. While the Whaling fleet has been pursued no whales have been caught.

"Our objective now is to chase them out of Australia's Economic Exclusion Zone," said Captain Paul Watson. "I have a chart here and it clearly states that these waters are Australian EEZ. There is an Australian Federal Court Order specifically prohibiting these ships from whaling in these waters. We have informed the whalers they are in contempt of this Court ruling."

"We still have them on the run and we intend to keep them on the run for as long as our fuel resources allow," said Captain Watson.

The Institute for Cetecean Research says their activities are legal under the scientific provisions of the International Whaling Commission, however
Whaling is a violation of International Conservation law and Japanese Whaling has been Found to be Illegal under Australian Law. The Whaling undertaken by the Japanese is clearly of a commercial nature and so also breaches the IWC conditions.

Sea Shepherd News December 26, 2008 - Sea Shepherd Clashes With Whaling Fleet in Australian Waters

Press Release: The Institute Of Cetacean Research, Scoop Independent News, December 27, 2008 - Sea Shepherd Attacks Whale Research Vessel

Takver - Sydney Indymedia
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