In a daring move by the Sea Shepherd in conjunction with Forest Rescue, three Australians are now detained on the Japanese whaler Shonan Maru #2. Geoffrey Owen Tuxworth (47) of Perth, Simon Petterfy (44) of Bunbury and Glen Pendlebury (27) of Fremantle boarded the Shonan Maru #2 under the cover of darkness earlier this morning.
The Australians who are currently held in a contiguous zone of Australia by armed Japanese military personnel, came with a message to the Japanese. “Return us to shore in Australia and then remove yourself from our waters.”
Forest Rescue has also released a statement on the current situation:
We have come from the forests of Australia to defend the whales being slaughtered in Australian territorial waters.
We are Australian citizens and we have boarded the Japanese flagged Shonan Maru #2 in Australian territorial waters at a position of (32° 57” 48” South and 115° 20’ 24” East) We have taken this action of boarding the Shonan Maru #2 to protest the fact that this vessel is part of a whaling fleet that is operating in contempt of the Australian Court and is in Australian waters in defiance of the Australian Federal court ruling and the will of the Australian people.
“We are onboard this ship because our government has failed to uphold its pre-election promise to end whaling in the Southern Ocean.” Said Simon Peterffy.
Forest Rescue has decided to take action to prevent the Shonan Maru #2 from tailing the Steve Irwin back to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Forest Rescue is making a stand to assist Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in their campaign to end illegal whale poaching in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
We are taking this action to remind the Australian government of their obligation to enforce existing laws pertaining to the prohibition of whaling ships in our waters.
We as Forest Rescue are insulted and disappointed in our government for allowing the transit of whale poaching vessels in Australian waters.
Since the start of the whaling season in the Southern Ocean, tensions have been high between the Sea Shepherd and Japanese whaling fleets. Just last year a Japanese whaling ship rammed into, and destroyed the Sea Shepherd’s Ady Gill beyond repair.
This year, the Sea Shepherd has accused the Shonan Maru #2 with dogging the Sea Shepherd from open sea to docking at ports.
The Sea Shepherd and Japanese whaling vessels have consistently been at each others throats throughout the whaling season. So much so, that in a rare moment of agreement, both sides have called for the Australian Southern Ocean patrol ship, the Ocean Protector to moderate the situation in the Arctic.
The Australian government has rejected this plea, and the Ocean Protector is currently languishing at Fremantle dock about to embark on its usual patrol duties under orders by the government.
The Japanese have been coming down south consistently over the years to collect whales for their “scientific purposes”, much to the dismay of the Australian public. And the Australian government has consistently reminded the Japanese government that although they continue to whale and are allowed to enter the Australian EEZ, they are by no means welcome.
In a 2008 injunction, restraints have been placed on a Japanese owned company–Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha from whaling in an Australian whale sanctuary. A Human Society International (HCI) campaigner has stated that: ”The conduct of this Japanese vessel is entirely inappropriate and amounts to aiding and abetting Southern Ocean whaling operations.” In this case, if anyone from that company is found directing the Japanese whaling fleets they will be in contempt of Federal Court law and contravention in Australian Environmental law.
Furthermore, if any Japanese whaling vessel ports in Australia, the proper authorities will have the right to charge the master of the ship from breaching Australian law.