Whaling fleet on the move
December 28, 2012 8:12PM
The Japanese whaling fleet, carrying armed Coast Guard officers, was on the move on Friday, local news reports said.
The factory ship Nisshin Maru, two harpoon ships, and another that has acted as security vessel for the fleet were heading out in Japan's Inland Sea, according to Kyodo news.
Already the whalers are weeks behind their usual departure time for the Antarctic.
In recent weeks the Nisshin Maru made several short forays from port following a refit for what are believed to have been sea trials.
"With the Coast Guard on board and the all vessels underway it appears that they are finally leaving," said Paul Watson, leader of the Sea Shepherd conservation group.
Mr Watson said he did not expect the whalers to each the Antarctic until 21 January at the earliest.
His group has four ships to meet the fleet, but has been restrained by a United States court from attacking the whalers.
JAPANESE whaling vessels have left port bound for the Southern Ocean on their annual hunt of the marine mammals, a media report and Greenpeace say.
Citing the Fisheries Agency, Kyodo News reported on Friday three vessels had departed from the far-western port of Shimonoseki, while environmental group Greenpeace said the mother ship had left another port also in the country's west.
"The mother ship, Nisshin Maru, left Innoshima today," said Greenpeace Japan's executive director Junichi Sato on Friday.
"Today was virtually the last day when they could leave for the Antarctic Sea," he said, adding that the fisheries agency had announced that the departure would take place within this month.
The mother ship would join the three vessels that left Shimonoseki earlier in the day, Kyodo said.
The fleet plans to hunt up to 935 Antarctic minke whales and up to 50 fin whales through March, the fisheries agency said earlier.
Digital Pass $1 for first 28 Days
Japanese authorities refused to confirm either departure to AFP.
"We do not disclose when the vessels leave or left for safety reasons," said an agency official said.
Coastguard officers will be aboard the ships to cope with possible harassment from anti-whaling activists, the coastguard and fisheries agency officials said earlier this month.
The fleet's departure comes weeks later than expected and days after a US court ordered militant environmental group Sea Shepherd to stay at least 500 yards (metres) from whaling vessels.
The injunction was ordered by the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in the latest step in a legal battle between the anti-whaling group and Japanese authorities over vessels in the Southern Ocean.
It said Sea Shepherd and Canadian militant conservationist Paul Watson, who is wanted by Interpol, "are enjoined from physically attacking any vessel engaged by plaintiffs", including Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research.
In addition, they are banned from "navigating in a manner that is likely to endanger the safe navigation of any such vessel", said the order, issued on Monday.
"In no event shall defendants approach plaintiffs any closer than 500 yards (460 metres) when defendants are navigating on the open sea," it added. The joint plaintiffs are Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha, Ltd., Tomoyuki Ogawa and Toshiyuki Miura.
It follows the issuing in August of an arrest notice by Interpol for Watson, Sea Shepherd's founder, who jumped bail in Germany in July.
He had been arrested there on charges from Costa Rica relating to a high-seas confrontation over shark finning in 2002.
In a statement on its website, Sea Shepherd called the new US court ruling "the first shot of the season" by Japanese whalers.
Confrontations between the whalers and activists have escalated in recent years, and the Japanese cut their hunt short in early 2011 due to Sea Shepherd harassment.
Push for Australia's Customs surveillance to monitor whale wars
December 27, 2012
SEA Shepherd skipper Paul Watson has called on the Australian government to send a Customs vessel to watch the Southern Ocean and keep the peace in the event of a clash with the Japanese whaling fleet in line with Australia's surveillance of Japans whaling fleet over the past several years.
The call follows a push by Australia's opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt for Julia Gillard to send air & see survaliance once again, as he warned of the prospect of serious injury, death or an environmental spill in the event of a collision. He has called for a vessel to be deployed by Monday, saying Sea Shepherd's campaign to prevent even one whale being killed has raised the stakes this season.
On the Steve Irwin yesterday, Captain Watson said: "I do think it's a responsible thing for the Australian government to send a vessel down to watchdog the situation and keep the peace.
"The Japanese are getting increasingly desperate. They've lost an incredible amount of money. I think they'll be more aggressive this year than ever before."
Captain Watson has been red-listed by Interpol at the request of Japanese authorities, who are pursuing him for prosecution on charges of breaking into a vessel, causing damage to property and obstruction of business. A red notice is a request for extradition. "We've been advised that if we come to any country that is a member of Interpol then that country is obliged to extradite," Captain Watson said.
The Japanese charges relate to an incident in February 2010 when Sea Shepherd crew member Pete Bethune boarded a Japanese ship to attempt a citizen's arrest of its master.
In a sharply-worded letter to the Prime Minister sent on Christmas Eve, Mr Hunt decried a lack of action by the government to prevent clashes in the Southern Ocean spinning out of control. "I am writing to express my disappointment and frustration at your continued refusal to take . . . action to avert a potential tragedy during this summer's whaling season," he said.
In a joint statement last Friday the Australian, US, New Zealand and Netherlands governments urged responsible behaviour from both whalers and protesters and condemned actions that "imperil human life at sea".
The call came after a US Court of Appeals issued an injunction ordering Sea Shepherd not to physically attack or endanger the whaling ships.
Earlier this year, The Australia Government issued a fresh warning to Japan to keep its whaling ships out of Australian waters after reports vessels are in the vicinity of Australia's exclusive economic zone.
There are reports that Japanese whaling vessels where in the vicinity of Australia’s exclusive economic zone near Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean.
Following the reports, the Australian Embassy has told the Japanese Government it expects whaling vessels to steer clear of Australian seas.
In a joint statement between Attorney-General Nicola Roxon and Environment Minister Tony Burke, the Ministers said Australia was “fully committed” to its legal case in the International Court of Justice to bring an end to Japan’s “so-called scientific” whaling.
“The Government strongly objects to whaling vessels passing through Australian territorial seas or our exclusive economic zone.
Greens Leader Bob Brown said yesterday the Yushin Maru No. 3 was breaking Australian law which prohibits the entry of such vessels into Australia’s exclusive economic zone and territorial waters.
“Several naval vessel should be dispatched to the Macquarie Island World Heritage Area to assert Australian law,” Senator Brown said yesterday.
April 9, 2009
John Greenewald, Jr.
The Black Vault Website Owner / Operator
"greeney2" wrote: What does this have to do with the war on terrorism or homeland security again?
🙄 🙄 🙄 🙄
Japanese terrorists entering Australian waters.
The crew have no papers ... they could be criminals .... drug smugglers & people smugglers.
They could be Spies or terrorist agents using the whaling season as a cover.
They could be dumping nuclear waste in Australia's waters as retaliation over Australia's anti whaling stance.
they could be caring biological weapons ( anthrax or small pox to use as a weapon )
They could be a health hazard, as they may be contaminated with nuclear fall out from the Japanese nuclear disaster.
Who are you to decide what a terrorist threat is ...... & how another country defends it's international borders.
"blackvault" wrote: Thread moved
That's cool ... does not really worry me where it is.
The issue is still the same. ( Australia sending war ships to defend it's waters against Japanese incursions ) So if Japan wanted Australia's support to stop China entering Japans waters.
Well japan can just go it alone.
Whats good for the goose & all that jazz.
April 9, 2009
April 9, 2009
Some is really wrong with you Rath. Actually if anything Australia harbors terrorists that attack, harass, and endanger the lives of those aboard the Japanese ships who do not make the policy, they are just making a living. You allow them to make port in your country, and know they are on the ocean endangering others. Even if whaling is deplorable, doing things that could kill all those on board, or sink their ship, is terrorism. If Australian wants to send its Navy to commandeer the ship according to breaking their laws, that is your right.