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Archive for December 28th, 2008

The Antarctic Whaling War Continues

Posted by feww on December 28, 2008

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s Steve Irwin stinkbombs Japan’s whaling ship Kaiko Maru

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, whose ship Steve Irwin has been chasing Japan’s whaling fleet in the Antarctic waters, says they have forced the fleet into waters off the Ross Dependency, an area claimed by New Zealand.

Members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, aboard their ship the Steve Irwin (L), throw items at the Japanese ship the Kaiko Maru near Antarctica December 26, 2008. Environmentalists chasing a Japanese whaling fleet off Antarctica threw “stink” bombs at one of the vessels, Japanese authorities and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said. Picture taken December 26, 2008.
REUTERS/Sea Shepherd Conservation Society/Eric Cheng/Handout

An Australian court order prohibits whaling in waters off Australian-claimed Antarctic territories coast, which is declared as an ‘economic exclusion zone,’ aka “EEZ.”

Sea Shepherd insists that it is enforcing that order by forcing Japan’s whaling fleet out of Australia’s EEZ.

Japan does not recognize the zone and says its whaling fleet is in international waters.

In a statement released Saturday, Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson said: “The good news is that they are no longer whaling in Australian waters and they only managed to hunt in the waters of the Australian Antarctic Territory for about a week before being forced to flee the Australian EEZ.”

“They are now in the waters of the Ross dependency and the Steve Irwin is in pursuit,” he said, adding that it was “bad news” for the whales in waters south of New Zealand.

“Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research, which runs the hunt, has accused Sea Shepherd of “eco-terrorism” and of ramming its vessel the Kaiko Maru during a protest action last Friday. Sea Shepherd has blamed the Japanese for the collision.” Reuters said.

The crew of the Japanese whaling ship has warned Sea Shepherd that any similar action would be treated as “illegal intruders under Japanese law.”

Two issues need to be fully addressed, preferably in an “independent” international court. First, the legitimacy of Australian claim to the EEZ. Second, the legitimacy and the nature of the Japanese claim using “scientific” research as an excuse for hunting  whales, despite an international 1986 moratorium on whaling, and in view of the fact that much of the whale meat is sold for human consumption.

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Posted in EEZ, Kaiko Maru, Ross dependency, whaling fleet | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »