Japanese intrusion in Australia’s sanctuaries ‘inflammatory and insensitive’

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The Australian Greens have called on the Federal Government to ask Japan to remove is vessels from the Australian Whale Sanctuary, and to cease shadowing the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin.

After meeting Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson in Fremantle today, Australian Greens Senators Rachel Siewert and Scott Ludlam said the presence of any Japanese vessels in the sanctuary was an unwelcome intrusion.

“It is highly probable that the Japanese Vessel Shonan Maru 2 has entered the Australian Whale Sanctuary, which surrounds the Australian coastline,” Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“This would have occurred while the ship was shadowing the Sea Shepherd vessels Steve Irwin and Brigitte Bardot on their journey to Fremantle.

“The intelligence being gathered by the Japanese whalers is invaluable as they attempt to conduct their hunt in absolute secrecy.

“The Government must ask the Japanese Government to order it’s vessels out of the sanctuary,” Senator Siewert said.

“While it is not illegal for the Japanese vessel to be in the Australian Whale Sanctuary, the move is inflammatory and insensitive,” said Senator Ludlam.

“Even though the Government is unwilling to use Australian vessels to monitor the Japanese whale hunt, they could at least take action over the intrusion of this vessel into our sanctuaries.

“By not acting, the Government is making it easier for the Japanese to avoid Sea Shepherd vessels and escape international scrutiny for their actions,” Senator Ludlam concluded.