The opening salvo in this year’s season was not fired from a ship’s deck – the oceans themselves have broadsided the ‘Brigitte Bardot’, and she has limped back to Fremantle, out for the season.
Sea Shepherd Capt. Paul Watson speaks from Southern Ocean about damage to ship Brigitte Bardot.
Part of the Japanese fleet, the ‘Shonin Maru Two’ followed as the ‘Steve Irwin’ escorted the damaged ship back to Fremantle, and then waited off the coast for the Steve Irwin to rejoin the chase.
RT @abcnews: Sea Shepherd says two boats heading to Fremantle are being tailed by Japanese security ship
The government reached for a rolled-up newspaper:
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd warned last week that while the Shonin Maru 2 was legally entitled to enter Australian waters it was not welcome and its crew could even be arrested should they attempt to port in Australia.
The ship attracted some attention for the crew’s attire.
Japanese whale hunters wore top to tie black “ninja suits” to hide identity off coast of freemantle. #whaling #japanese
(The eyewitnesses are mistaken that ninjas wear black.)
With only two ships left in the game, the Sea Shepherd resorted to a clever gambit, recruiting local forestry activists to jump on board the ship and request a lift back to land – hoping to create a moral and legal dilemma for both the Japanese captain and the Australian government.
A Japanese whaling ship has taken three Australian Sea Shepherd crew and are refusing to release them. They were taken in Australian waters.
‘…are refusing to release them’ is overstating it: probably more like ‘… are pretty busy and can’t stop to drop them off just now, thank you.’
Or, possibly, ‘…aren’t about to show up in Fremantle to see if Kevin Rudd was serious about that whole ‘we’ll arrest you’ thing.’
The ‘Australian waters’ phrase is critical and contentious, as is the precise location of the Japanese ship when the boarding happened.
A spokesman for the whalers at the Institute of Cetacean Research, Glenn Inwood, confirmed the men were still aboard the vessel.
“They are unhurt, they are being questioned and there has been no decision on anything beyond that at this stage,” the New Zealand-based Mr Inwood told AAP.
Mr Inwood said it was wrong to say the incident happened in Australian waters.
“Australia has legal jurisdiction out to 12 miles. The equivalent of that is 19km. This mooring happened at 40km out. So this did not occur within Australian territorial waters.”
The Sea Shepherd folk say it all happened at
32 degrees, zero minutes south and 115 degrees, 21 minutes east
… which, at 16.2 miles offshore, is outside Australia’s 12 mile ‘territorial waters’, but inside its 24 mile ‘contiguous zone’. I hope the Shepherd, sorry, the
Forestry folk have good lawyers.
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