RE: Japan 'warship plan' to guard whaling fleet, 12-31-05
- How come Greenpeace doesn't ram their asses, like they used to back in the 90's?
Japan 'warship plan' to guard whaling fleet, 12-31-05
Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2005 10:56:09-0800
Japan 'warship plan' to guard whaling fleet
leet/2005/12/30/1135915692177.htmlEmail Print Normal font Large font By Andrew Darby,Hobart December 31, 2005
HARDLINE anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd claims Japan may be sending a warship to the Southern Ocean to protect its whaling
fleet from interference.
Dogged by Greenpeace ships, threatened with attack from Sea Shepherd, and enduring bad weather, the fleet's factory ship has not
processed a whale for a week.
Sea Shepherd, whose ship Farley Mowat has had one brush with the fleet, alleges a "reliable source" in Japan gave the tip-off that a warship had left for the Southern Ocean.
Japanese Government representatives could not be reached for comment,
but a spokesman drew attention to Sea Shepherd's extremism.
The group claimed in an internet statement that the fleet's actions
this week indicated it might be waiting for help. "The fleet seems to be running in circles, stopping and going in different directions," the statement said.
Yesterday Nisshin Maru, with Greenpeace ship Esperanza tailing it, was sailing west at about 15 knots far south of Perth. The
fleet's catcher boats had not been seen for two days, Greenpeace expedition leader Shane Rattenbury said.
"They have had a couple of days where conditions have been perfectly good for whaling, and so far it has not resumed," Mr Rattenbury said. Greenpeace
had considered that the high-speed run could be an attempt to use up
fuel, forcing the activists to leave the whaling fleet, which can be refuelled at sea.
"We are confident that we have the endurance to stay with them for some time," he said.
Mr Rattenbury said that if Sea Shepherd's claim proved true, it would be a significant escalation in the crisis.
"It would not deter us, but it would pose the question of what to do to the anti-whaling governments," he said.
Environment Minister Ian Campbell reiterated that Sea Shepherd's
threats to attack the fleet risked setting back the cause of whale conservation many years.
On December 21, Greenpeace located and engaged the Japanese fleet
working in waters the Australian Government has declared a whale
sanctuary. Since then the fleet has dipped in and out of the 200 nautical mile limit off the
Australian Antarctic Territory.
Japan is among nations that do not recognise this Australian limit.
Under the Antarctic Treaty, which suspends all territorial claims, Australia cannot press its limit on foreigners.
Nevertheless, calls have come from Greens leader Bob Brown for the
Australian Government to send a vessel to observe the whalers.
Sea Shepherd believes Japan has been preparing the ground for seizing any attacking vessel.
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