The Australian government should oppose Japanese whaling in Antarctica.
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@bioselement (William Chambers): The #Japanese whalin... - App.net

bioselement: The #Japanese whaling fleet, with the support of the Japanese government, are willing to commit murd... (The #Japanese whaling fleet, with the support of the Japanese government, are willing to commit murder to contin...
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Human rights of Tanker crew under question as Japan suspends Whaling in Antarctica : Indybay

Human rights of Tanker crew under question as Japan suspends Whaling in Antarctica : Indybay | The Australian government should oppose Japanese whaling in Antarctica. | Scoop.it

Sea Shepherd in their campaign to stop all whaling in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary this year have endeavoured to non-violently block attempts to refuel the Nisshin Maru, the Japanese whaling factory vessel, the 3 whaling harpoon boats, and the Japanese Government security vessel, the Shonan Maru. This culminated in the Nisshin Maru repeatedly ramming the Sea Shepherd ships Sam Simon, Steve Irwin and Bob Barker in attempting to come alongside the Sun Laurel in the ice laden seas. Most damage was sustained to the Bob Barker with damage to the helideck, antennas and radar, disabling engine room power for a time and causing the ship to take on water. In the process the 8,000-ton Nisshin Maru also rammed the Sun Laurel damaging safety equipment.

Paul Watson aboard the Steve Irwin observed the collisions described the damage to the Sun Lauel as "sustaining significant damage to the davit on their primary lifeboat and the crane used to launch the secondary liferafts, rendering both inoperable and useless in an emergency situation. This means that on their thirty-day voyage back to South Korea, they will have no lifesaving equipment in the event of an abandon-ship situation."

During the Nisshin Maru ramming of the Bob Barker and the Sun Laurel, one of the Filipino crew members tossed a bottle with a message to Sea Shepherd crew on the Bob Barker. The note said "To Research ship. Please: ‘May Day’ ‘Help’ All crew did not know to this Antarctic trip. So all crew don’t like to supply this fishing vessels. We cannot use telephone so we cannot speak to IMO. Please you as soon as possible catch action. Thank U.”

Enclosed was another note, an order from the Master of the Sun Laurel saying: "All Crew members. From 20th Jan to 28th Feb (only may be). No Use Telephone. by company order."

It seems the crew of the Sun Laurel are very dissatisfied with being kept in the dark about the tanker's mission, with the prohibition on all outside contact. I am sure they were not impressed with voyaging into the Antarctic pack ice in a vessel not prepared for sea ice conditions. The final straw was the reckless ramming of the Sun Laurel by the Captain of the Nisshin Maru resulting in damage to key emergency safety lifeboats, or equipment to operate them.

Some of the Bob Barker crew threw Sea Shepherd T-shirts on to the Sun Laurel, which were picked up and immediately worn by the Filipino crew members to cheers from the Sea Shepherd crew.

Although battered by being rammed by the Nisshin Maru, the Captain of the Bob Barker Peter Hammarstedt radioed the Captain of the Sun Laurel with an offer to give them a liferaft to replace the one that the Nisshin Maru had crushed. The tanker captain replied that he could make do, but appreciated the offer.

The Sun Laurel headed north a few hours later escorted by the Sam Simon. The Japanese Institute for Cetecean Research shortly asfter announced that the refueling operation had been suspended. The Nisshin Maru continues to steam east and west in the whale sanctuary flanked by the Bob Barker and Steve Irwin. Conditions for whaling are coming to a close. With the tanker sailing north away from the fleet, the Nisshin Maru may need to limit it's remaining time in Antarctic waters and refuel in Indonesia on the journey back to Japan.

Both Australia and New Zealand have made it clear whaling vessels would be unwelcome. Indeed, it is likely any whaling vessel calling into an Australian port may be impounded with a court injunction served about undertaking illegal activities inder Australian law.

Paul Watson from Sea Shepherd comments about the treatment of the Sun Laurel crew:

"The officers of the ship seem to have little regard for their safety as well, and we saw several members of the crew the nearly get hit in the head with the swinging hook and block on the crane. None of them were equipped with helmets. They were mostly a good bunch of young men caught in the middle of an issue that took them into a situation they were not prepared for.

"The message from the crew is an indication that the Captain, Owners, and Manning Agents of the crew for the MT Sun Laurel are in direct violation of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC, 200). The MLC convention, established by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), is a UN body that sets out seafarers' rights to decent conditions of work. It has been designed to become a global instrument of the international regulatory regime for quality shipping, complementing the key Conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). We are reporting this to the Maritime Authorities in Panama regarding the violation of the MLC Convention. This will be our 2nd report- the first one was about the oil pollution incident."

Paul Watson warns that Sea Shepherd will remain in the Southern Ocean until the whalers leave or the season ends. They are equally prepared to return next December to close down Japan's illegal commercial whaling operation.

 

Australian Environment Minister lambasts Japanese Whaling

The Australian Government refuses to intervene directly in the conflict in the Southern Ocean by sending an official Government ship - in the past it has sent a Customs vessel to observe and document Japan's whaling activities and to act as an intermediary between activists and whalers.

Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke said the collisions would be investigated by the Australian Maritime Saftey Authority as they ocurred within Australia's Antarctic search and rescue zone. "the Maritime Safety Authority's going through the investigations on this because it's within our search and rescue zone so AMSA will continue to work through the claims and counter-claims, but the starting point of all of this is still that we don't believe a whaling fleet should have been there in the first place." he told ABC News Breakfast.

He called the presence of the whaling fleet as flagrant violation of the principle of no commercial whaling, and the claims of use of heavy oil in Antarctic waters as a flagrant breech of Antarctic rules. "So you've got safety at sea issues, you've got the Antarctic rules and obviously you've also got the first principle which has brought them there at all which is that they should not be whaling. This is not a scientific process, its commercial whaling and our position is immovable on that." he said.

 

Injunctions against Sea Shepherd in the US, against Japanese whaling in Australia

The Japanese Institute for Cetecean Research was able to get an injunction issued against Sea Shepherd in the US legal jurisdiction on 17 December 2012. It is a very unusual injunction issued without any formal hearings and a chance for Sea Shepherd to rebutte arguments. The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an Injunction Order enjoining Sea Shepherd (US), and Paul Watson from physically attacking the Japanese research vessels or any person on them and from navigating in a manner that is likely to endanger the safe navigation at sea of any such vessel. The Injunction Order also prohibits them from approaching any vessel engaged by the Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) or Kyodo Senpaku (KS) any closer than 500 yards (about 457 meters) when the research vessels are navigating on the open sea.

However this year the campaign against the Japanese whaling fleet has been handed over to and conducted by Sea Shepherd Australia, a seperate entity, with the campaign being based in the Australian legal jurisdiction where whaling has been found to be illegal since 2008. It would be difficult to see how a US Injunction could be legally enforced on Netherlands and Australian flagged vessels operating out of waters claimed by Australia (but not enforced as all territorial claims in Antarctica are suspended as per the Antarctic Treaty), and an internationally recognised whale sanctuary. However Australian international legal expert Donald Rothwell says the legal dimension is now getting very complicated for Sea Shepherd.

According to Scott West, an investigations operative for Sea Shepherd, the injunction applies only to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society U.S. and its founder, Paul Watson. Paul Watson has relinquished all official positions regarding the Japanese whaling campaign. Mr West explained that the four anti-whaling vessels are operated by Sea Shepherd Australia, a seperate entity, and are flying the Australian and Netherlands flags. "All of these entities have picked up the mission," West said. "Sea Shepherd U.S. is complying with, albeit ridiculous, the injunction. ... We're not going to be in violation of federal law." he said.

Sea Shepherd filed an appeal at a hearing before the US Supreme Court on February 12. Charles Moore, the attorney representing Sea Shepherd, said at a National Press Club briefing that the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit's three-sentence injunction surprised the group because it was issued without warning or a chance to argue in front of the judges and without being requested by Japan's Institute for Cetacean Research. The court issued the preliminary injunction sua sponte, or "of its own accord."

 

“It is our belief that The Ninth Circuit Court incorrectly issued the injunction without any party filing a motion asking for such an order and without issuing a written opinion explaining why it issued the injunction,” said lead counsel for Sea Shepherd U.S., Charles Moure.

“This irregular action provided absolutely no opportunity to brief the legal issues and put forth arguments against the injunction,” he stated. “It also ignored a well-reasoned ruling in Sea Shepherd’s favor by a District court in February of last year and did not require the ICR to post bond to secure its preliminary injunction, which is standard and generally required under the law when any party obtains an injunction. Sea Shepherd is seeking relief with regard to the injunction while awaiting the Ninth Circuit’s opinion,” he concluded.

Natural Resources Defense Council practicing attorney Robert Kennedy Jr., described the injunction as "very, very dubious and strange and unique. I've never seen a species of injunction like this before in my 30 years as a practicing attorney and litigator," said Kennedy.

The Institute for Cetecean Research has indicating in it's most recent media release on February 20 it is filing a motion for Contempt against Sea Shepherd in the US over the recent collisions and obstruction of it's refueling operations.

Sea Shepherd Australia have mockingly said they would maintain the distance specified in the US injunction and US law if Japan also respected an equivalent distance from any whales and undertook to respect the Australian court injunction on whaling in the Southern Ocean whale Sanctuary. And so the legal manouervering goes on. All the while the US Government is sitting back refusing to use it's diplomatic muscle to resolve the conflict with the Japanese Government even though it takes a public stance opposing whaling. A whaling Industry shown to be corrupt, and the beneficiaries of substantial Japanese Government support through subsidies and even receiving payments donated for tsunami relief.

 

Case proceeding in International Court of Justice

The Australian Government is proceeding with a long running case - Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan) - before the International Court of Justice about the international legality of Japan's whaling operation which is likely to commence formal hearings and arguments later this year.

As a result of incidents in the last week, Sea Shepherd Australia have now forwarded Complaints to the International Maritime Organisation on a fuel leak from the Sun Laurel below 60 degrees south, a potentially serious breach of the Antarctic teaty, and the denial of labor human rights to the crew on the Sun Laurel. The ramming of three Sea Shepherd ships and the Panama registered tanker Sun Laurel by the Nisshin Maru is currently being investigated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).


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WORLDWIDE: “Sea Shepherd” launches “Operation Zero Tolerance” for 2012

WORLDWIDE: “Sea Shepherd” launches “Operation Zero Tolerance” for 2012 | The Australian government should oppose Japanese whaling in Antarctica. | Scoop.it

November 5 sees the start of Sea Shepherd’s ninth annual campaign, organized by eco-pirates, to save the whales.

 

The fact that the campaign’s leader, Paul Watson, is currently on the run will not stop his comrades from carrying on with Operation Zero Tolerance, a coordinated effort targeting the work of Japan’s whaling fleet. Over the last nine years Japanese poachers have lost millions of dollars in their fruitless attempts to kill the gentle sea giants illegally.

 

This year there are four ships at Sea Shepherd’s disposal, as well as a helicopter, eight small RIB-boats, three drones and over a hundred volunteers from all over the world. The confrontation will take place in the northern Pacific Ocean. “It is time to have a battle in the North and time to prove to the Japanese that there will be no whales killed this season” states captain Paul Watson on the organization's web site.

 

Watson has been red marked on the international wanted list but the captain believes that it is not the police who are after him, but the mafia on both sides of the Pacific, in Japan and Costa Rica. While ecologists in Costa Rica are actively fighting shark finning, the Japanese are furious over the unbelievable losses they have sustained in their whaling business due to interference from Sea Shepherd. In his exclusive interview with the Voice of Russia, Watson confirmed that was indeed his intention: “From the very beginning our goal was to drive the Japanese whaling companies to bankruptcy, and we have achieved that. Thanks to our activity they have gone bankrupt and are stuck with debt.”

 

Watson believes that whaling continues because of the funding raised to help victims of the Fukushima tragedy.

 

Australia and New Zealand have criticized the Japanese whaling business but Watson believes that his organization is the only one that actively supports international legislation, which has proved incapable on its own of stopping the poachers. The captain is happy to announce that over his 35 years of work, he has yet to lose a battle for a whale's life.

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Sea Shepherd Australia :: Japanese Whaling Fleet Abandons Harpoon Vessel Nearly Empty on Fuel

Sea Shepherd Australia :: Japanese Whaling Fleet Abandons Harpoon Vessel Nearly Empty on Fuel | The Australian government should oppose Japanese whaling in Antarctica. | Scoop.it

An anonymous source within Korea has reported that the Japanese whaling fleet is in total disarray, with Sea Shepherd Australia’s ship the SSS Sam Simon tailing the refuelling tanker for the Japanese whaling fleet, the Panamanian-registered and South Korean-owned vessel Sun Laurel.  The Sam Simon plans to follow the Sun Laurel in hopes to track them straight to the Nisshin Maru.

The source detailed that the Sun Laurel was only contracted to refuel the Japanese whaling fleet until mid-February, but because Japan's Whaling Program is so closely connected to their commercial fishing interests, they are using their clout within the fishing industry, attempting to pressure the Sun Laurel to refuel the whalers below 60° in Australia's Antarctic Territory, with the threat of blacklisting the Sun Laurel from future contracts if they don't abide.

Sea Shepherd Australia Director, Jeff Hansen states, "The Yushin Maru is in a desperate situation, quite possibly unable to get to safety in the event of an emergency. The Japanese whaling fleet wouldn't be in this predicament if they weren't pariahs for their illegal whaling; unwelcome to refuel in any land-based port without scrutiny and banned from Australian ports, they must hire a refuelling vessel simply to be fuelled for their illegal poaching.  These poachers are in contempt of an Australian Federal Court ruling and should not be in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in the first place. The South Korean vessel, the Sun Laurel is supplying fuel to the illegal operations of the Japanese whaling fleet, which is akin to supplying equipment to elephant poachers in Africa."

Operation Zero Tolerance Co-Campaign Leader, Bob Brown stated, “Once again, Japan's whaling fleet is flouting international law. Now it is drawing in the Government of South Korea, which so wisely decided against whaling last year. South Korea should order this tanker to turn around and go home. Otherwise it invites world condemnation instead of the praise it so recently enjoyed.”

The source reported that the Yushin Maru is separated from the fleet by hundreds of miles, very low on fuel and unable to proceed unless refuelled.  This indicates that the Yushin Maru has been totally abandoned by the Nisshin Maru and the rest of the Japanese whaling fleet in their hour of need.

Captain of the SSS Steve Irwin, Siddharth Charkravarty recounts: "While in pursuit of the Nisshin Maru, the Steve Irwin picked up the Yushin Maru as a tailing vessel, riding extremely high out of the water, indicating that they were very low on fuel.  A few days later when the whalers tried to swap the Yushin Maru with a fully fuelled Yushin Maru No. 3, the Steve Irwin instead chased the Yushin Maru in the opposite direction of the whaler's factory ship for 150 miles.  During this chase, the Yushin Maru was unable to reach their full speed of 20+ knots, but was barely able to eke out 16-17 knots, confirming that they were low on fuel and hence running at a more fuel-saving speed."  Since then, this Korean source reports, the Yushin Maru is conserving their meagre fuel stores and is unable to cover the ground between them and the Nisshin Maru.

Rather than remain with their sister ship, or even transfer fuel to them, the Yushin Maru No. 3 instead chose to abandon the Yushin Maru in the treacherous waters of the Southern Ocean in order to chase the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin.

Sea Shepherd Founder, Paul Watson says, "This action shows the negligence of the whaling commander, not only for the sanctity of the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, but an utter and total disregard for the life and safety of the crews who work on these death ships.  Last year, on Operation Divine Wind, when one of Sea Shepherd's ships, the Brigitte Bardot, was compromised, we stopped our entire campaign to escort them to port and ensure their safety.  It's not surprising that the whalers share no such camaraderie for one another, since their entire motive for being in these waters is ruthless greed."

Captain Peter Hammarstedt, aboard the SSS Bob Barker said, "Operation Zero Tolerance has had victories in so many forms, from intercepting the whalers' fuelling vessel, and thus cutting their season, to pulling two-thirds of the fleets' harpoon ships entirely out of operation, and keeping the sole remaining harpooner with the factory ship running, stunting their progress, and severely limiting their ability to poach Antarctica's pristine waters.  We also intercepted the whaling fleet before they had a chance to fire a single harpoon."

The Bob Barker continues to chase and hunt the whalers' butchering ship, the Nisshin Maru, unencumbered by a tail, and aided by a fleet of aerial scouting drones.


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Anti-whalers back on offensive - The Mercury

Anti-whalers back on offensive - The Mercury | The Australian government should oppose Japanese whaling in Antarctica. | Scoop.it
The Mercury
Anti-whalers back on offensive
The Mercury
The group claimed victory over the Japanese fleet last season, with the campaign marked by fiery clashes between activists and whalers.
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Japan's whaling season in doubt this year

Japan's whaling season in doubt this year | The Australian government should oppose Japanese whaling in Antarctica. | Scoop.it

Anti-whaling campaigners hope urgent repairs to an ageing Japanese factory ship will keep it out of action for the upcoming whaling season.

Japan's Fisheries Agency plans to refit the 8000-tonne Nisshin Maru, which is used each year on Antarctic whaling expeditions, in the hope of getting at least another decade's service out of it.

The ship needs a major overhaul, the agency said on Wednesday, but it stressed the refit would be finished in time for this season's hunt in Antarctic waters during the southern summer.

Whales are caught by relatively nimble harpoon ships that bring their catch back to the larger Nisshin Maru, where the mammals are butchered, processed and chilled.

It's believed Japanese taxpayer dollars are being sought to fund the ship's repair.

Greenpeace on Wednesday called for an end to the government subsidies and accused the Japanese whaling industry of stealing taxpayers' money from the Fukushima recovery effort.

"The Japanese government can and must allow this industry to disappear into history - where it belongs," Greenpeace spokesman Junichi Sato said in a statement.

"We repeat our call for an end to this senseless hunt."

Federal environment minister Tony Burke echoed the call.

"There is nothing scientific about harpooning a whale, chopping it up and eating it," he said.

Japan's whaling mission begins in November.

Commercial whaling is banned under an international treaty, but Japan has since 1987 used a loophole to carry out "lethal research" on the creatures in the name of science.

It has infuriated Australia and New Zealand, which say the practice is a fig leaf for commercial whaling. The Japanese fleet is pursued every year by anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd.

Japan claims the hunt is necessary to substantiate its view that the world has a robust whale population. But it makes no secret of the fact that the whale meat ends up on dinner tables and in restaurants.

Anti-whaling activists have cut the number of animals Japan was able to harpoon to 267 in 2011-2012, less than a third of the intended haul.

In the preceding season, Japan cancelled the hunt after killing only 172 whales because of harassment by environmentalists.

Australian Greens senator Rachel Siewert said like the Nisshin Maru, the whaling industry was on its death bed.

"This could be the beginning of the end of Japanese whaling, as changing domestic attitudes and financial pressures take their toll," the party's whaling spokesperson said.

"This industry has been uneconomical for years and has had to be subsidised, it doesn't make sense for further investments to be made in the fleet undertaking this terrible slaughter."


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Japan ‘to suspend whaling’ but is hunt over for good?

Japan ‘to suspend whaling’ but is hunt over for good? | The Australian government should oppose Japanese whaling in Antarctica. | Scoop.it
Japanese fisheries agency says factory ship needs repairs and whaling fleet might therefore not set sail (RT @CJ_LocoZorro: RT @CJ_LocoZorro: Japan ‘to suspend whaling’ but is hunt over for good?

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Jay Taylor's comment, June 4, 2013 12:17 AM
This Scoop is persuasive as it gives me information informing me about the Japanese Whaling taking place today. It makes me look into the article and topic even more, making me ask myself 'is the hunt over for good?' I personally don't think it is as there is still people hunting and killing the whales today.
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WORLDWIDE: Australia won't monitor Japanese whaling

WORLDWIDE: Australia won't monitor Japanese whaling | The Australian government should oppose Japanese whaling in Antarctica. | Scoop.it
The Australian government will use diplomatic channels to convince Japan to put a stop to whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

 

Australia will take diplomatic action to encourage Japan to drop its "scientific whaling" program, amid reports the Japanese fleet has begun its journey south.

 

Environment Minister Tony Burke has restated the government's strong opposition to Japan's whaling expeditions and dismissed Japanese claims that the program is for scientific research.

 

"There is nothing scientific about going out and chasing whales, aiming a harpoon at them, so that you can pull them in and chop them up for food," Mr Burke told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.

 

Australia would lobby Japan to respect a moratorium on whaling in the Southern Ocean, taking "all diplomatic action that a government can take", he said.

 

But Mr Burke said the government would not respond to coalition calls for a customs vessel to be sent to the Southern Ocean to monitor the annual whale hunt.

 

"The information that we have on the way Japan has alternated this each year is that in all likelihood they'll be in the New Zealand search-and-rescue zone anyway," he said.

 

Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Julia Gillard saying it was vital an Australian vessel be present in case of any clashes between Japanese whalers and the anti-hunt group Sea Shepherd.

 

"There is a real risk of conflict or collision causing injury, death or a major environmental spill in the event of a sinking," Mr Hunt said.

 

Greens acting leader Adam Bandt says the government should seek a court injunction to stop the whaling.

 

"The government says it wants to do something about it and has commenced proceedings in the court, but it hasn't done the simple thing that would actually stop the whaling, and that is go off and seek an injunction," Mr Bandt told reporters in Melbourne.

 

The Australian government started legal proceedings at the International Court of Justice in May 2010.

 

Both Australia and Japan have filed their detailed written arguments to the court and the case has been set down for oral hearing at The Hague, probably next year.

 

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said the decision to start legal proceedings was not taken lightly.

 

"The Australian government considers Japan's whaling program is contrary to its international obligations and should stop," Ms Roxon said.

 

Citing the Fisheries Agency, Kyodo News reported on Friday three vessels had left 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 fleet plans to hunt up to 935 Antarctic minke whales and up to 50 fin whales through March, the fisheries agency said earlier.

 

The Australian government had not yet received official confirmation that Japan's annual whaling hunt was beginning, and did not expect to.

 

"Last year there was no stage when the Japanese government actually confirmed its whaling fleet was heading south," Mr Burke said.

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Kara Burns's curator insight, September 9, 2013 8:19 PM

The Australian government will use diplomatic channels to convince Japan to put a stop to whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary

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JAPAN: No decision made on whale hunt

JAPAN: No decision made on whale hunt | The Australian government should oppose Japanese whaling in Antarctica. | Scoop.it
JAPANESE officials insist no decision has been made to cut short the country's Southern Ocean whaling season after a dramatic clash with Sea Shepherd vessels.

 

Japan's whaling fleet was forced to abandon a refuelling operation on Wednesday after a series of collisions with the conservation activist group's boats.

 

Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson said whaling had been suspended and he didn't expect the remaining 18 days of the season would see any hunting.

 

But Japan's Consul-General in Melbourne, Hidenobu Sobashima, said that comment was wide of the mark.

 

"That is not correct," Mr Sobashima told AAP.

 

"We have temporarily suspended refuelling activities but not more and not less than that."

 

Asked if the season would continue, Mr Sobashima said: "I'm not in a position to explain the detail of the movements of the whaling fleet."

 

News agency AFP also quoted a Japanese Fisheries Agency official in Tokyo saying the whaling program would continue.

 

Japan's Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR), which co-ordinates the annual hunt, was yet to comment.

 

Mr Sobashima said Japan had protested to the embassies of Australia and The Netherlands in Tokyo, but would not respond to federal environment minister Tony Burke's comment that whaling was in "flagrant violation" of international law.

 

"However, I'd like to say that what is being done is lawful in accordance particularly with article eight of the international convention for the regulation of research whaling," he said.

 

Sea Shepherd said its three vessels in the area - the Steve Irwin, Bob Barker and Sam Simon - were rammed by the Nisshin Maru, but Mr Sobashima laid the blame with the conservation group.

 

"It's the Sea Shepherd who are endangering the life and property of the crew and the safe navigation of the sea and therefore the Sea Shepherd activities are illegal and impermissible," he said.

 

"It's the Sea Shepherd vessels who approached the Japanese vessel and collided."

 

Captain Watson rejected that version of events.

 

"Their argument is that we hit their fist with our face," he said.

 

"It was more like a case of road rage."

 

Mr Sobashima said Sea Shepherd's claim the Japanese fleet had been illegally refuelling was false.

 

As the Greens repeated their call for an Australian naval ship to be sent to patrol the area, Prime Minister Julia Gillard continued to rule it out, saying it would put Australian personnel at risk.

 

"When did we become the nation that apparently has got the capacity to police every ocean in the world?" she told reporters in Adelaide.

 

Sea Shepherd estimates only 12 whales have been caught so far this season, while Mr Sobashima said figures were not available.

 

The Consul-General said he was confident Australia's case at the International Court of Justice to ban the annual hunt would not succeed.

 

"We believe that what we are doing is lawful, therefore the International Court of Justice would favour the Japanese position," he said.

 

Japan claims it conducts scientific research that is lawful under an International Whaling Commission Ban, and is continuing a cultural tradition.

 

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Australia's Top Attorney to Argue Japan Whaling Case - Environment News Service

Australia's Top Attorney to Argue Japan Whaling Case - Environment News Service | The Australian government should oppose Japanese whaling in Antarctica. | Scoop.it
Environment News Service Australia's Top Attorney to Argue Japan Whaling Case Environment News Service Australia says the Japanese whaling fleet conducts “scientific research” in international waters that include an Australian maritime rescue zone...
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