Through the escalation of the three detained Australians, more surprising information about the Japanese whalers have emerged. It appears, in a statement by Humane Society International that the Japanese have been illegally operating inside Australian territory which means they are subjected to Australian jurisdiction under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Under the act, it is illegal for a whaling vessel to operate anywhere inside Australia’s 200 nautical mile EEZ, and not just within 12 nautical miles of Australia’s territorial waters. Therefore, the Shonan Maru no. 2 and the Yushin Maru no. 3, have been illegally operating in Australia and should have already been apprehended and subjected to the full brunt of Australian law. Failure to comply with the act results in remediation of damage, court injunctions and criminal and civil penalties.
The Australian government have again, consistently complained to the Japanese government, especially since the incident involving the Australian detainees. The three Australians aboard the Shonan Maru no.2 will be collected by the Ocean Protecter and then brought back to Australia. Though according to the Australian newspaper – The Age, the Ocean Protector has done no such thing.
The Shonan Maru no.2 and the Yushin Maru no. 3, have been in breach of Australian law through its continued stalking of Sea Shepherd ships – the Bob Barker and the Steve Irwin. The Shonan Maru no. 2 has been, and continues to follow the Steve Irwin in the south of Western Australia. While the Yushin Maru no. 3 has also been doing the same to the Bob Barker a few miles off of Macquarie Island.
According to Professor of International law, Don Rothwell of the Australian National University; the Yushin Maru no. 3 may also be guilty of violating the UN Convention on the law of the sea by continuously following the Bob Barker
The Japanese whalers are showing no respect and blatantly abusing Australian law. Though as the Australian government, they should know of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and that the whalers have already been in breach of that law. Their failure to act now and apprehend the Japanese, show’s their incapabilities to uphold their own laws and ignorant of the Australian peoples wishes.
The only governmental body acting now on this issue and trying to resolve it are the political party, the Greens. The leader of the Greens Bob Brown, believes that both presence of the ship’s are illegal and provocative. He also believes that the Gillard Government should send a naval vessel to deal with the incursion.
[UPDATE: The three Australian detainees have been released and received by the Ocean Protector and are on their way back to Australia.]