Monday, January 9, 2012

Divine Wind: Japanese POWs

Three Oz activists are today POWs - Prisoners Of Whalers - having been detained after boarding a Japanese vessel yesterday.
Sea Shepherd helped three men from the Forest Rescue group to board the Shonan Maru 2 in Oz coastal waters (here's the video clip of the boarding).
The men sailed out to intercept the ship off the WA coast, as it tailed Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin (which had escorted the damaged Brigitte Bardot to port). They were met by two SS zodiacs: these approached SM2 at night and the three climbed past razor wire, spikes and rails to get aboard. They delivered a message: "Return us to shore in Australia and then remove yourself from our waters."
The trio acted because they feel the Federal Govt is not doing enough to stop the killing of whales. They say the Japanese are operating in contempt of Australian courts and in defiance of the will of Australian people. They hope the action will remind the OZ govt of its obligation to prohibit whaling vessels in its waters.
Spokesman for the Institute of Cetacean Research, Glenn "Ginza" Inwood, confirms the men are still aboard SM2: "They are unhurt, they're being questioned and there's been no decision on anything beyond that at this stage." He claims the men boarded the vessel well outside Australian territorial waters - about 40km from the coast - and any suggestion otherwise is false. SS and Forest Rescue say the incident happened 16.2 miles off the coast: outside territorial waters but inside Australia's 24-mile contiguous zone. The
Greens are calling for Federal Govt intervention, saying SM2's position when boarded was 32 degrees, zero minutes south and 115 degrees, 21 minutes east: inside the zone. Australia's Tokyo embassy has contacted the Japanese government seeking urgent clarification of the vessel's location.
Meanwhile SM2 cannot legally leave Oz waters with the men aboard and, if they approach land to offload the three, this would give SI an opportunity to slip past and rejoin Bob Barker and the chase for the Nisshin Maru factory ship. Of course, this may also be a ploy to draw the Australian Govt into a diplomatic incident with Japan.
Watch this space...

No comments: