The Shonan Maru #2 has three Australian activists
by Jennifer Mishler
Categories: Animals, Causes.
Photo: Sea Shepherd

Three Australian activists from the group Forest Rescue have boarded Japanese whaling ship Shonan Maru #2 in an effort to assist Sea Shepherd’s campaign.

According to a statement from Sea Shepherd, Geoffrey Owen Tuxworth, Simon Peterffy and Glen Pendlebury are all still on board being detained as prisoners. The activists came by boat to interfere with the whaling ship as it tailed the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin in Australian waters, 22 miles Northwest of Bunbury, Western Australia.

“They were met by two small boats from the Steve Irwin. The boats approached the Shonan Maru under the cover of darkness and the three negotiated their way past the razor wire and spikes and over the rails to sucessfuly board the Japanese whaling vessel,” Sea Shepherd said. Their message to the whalers? “Return us to shore in Australia and then remove yourself from our waters.” Sea Shepherd says that armed military personnel are onboard the Shonan Maru #2.

Forest Rescue has also made a statement and explained why they have chosen to take action. “We have come from the forests of Australia to defend the whales being slaughtered in Australian territorial waters. We are Australian citizens and we have boarded the Japanese flagged Shonan Maru #2 in Australian territorial waters at a position of (32 degrees zero minutes south and 115 degrees 21 minutes east). We have taken this action of boarding the Shonan Maru #2 to protest the fact that this vessel is part of a whaling fleet that is operating in contempt of the Australian Court and is in Australian waters in defiance of the Australian Federal court ruling and the will of the Australian people.” Peterffy adds, “We are onboard this ship because our government has failed to uphold its pre-election promise to end whaling in the Southern Ocean.”

Forest Rescue is trying to prevent the vessel from continuing to tail the Steve Irwin back on the way back to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, after escorting damaged vessel the Brigitte Bardot to port for repairs. The group says, “Forest Rescue is making a stand to assist Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in their campaign to end illegal whale poaching in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. We are taking this action to remind the Australian government of their obligation to enforce existing laws pertaining to the prohibition of whaling ships in our waters. We as Forest Rescue are insulted and disappointed in our government for allowing the transit of whale poaching vessels in Australian waters.”

About Jennifer Mishler

Jennifer Mishler is a writer, and a vegan and animal activist. When she's not writing, you can often find her volunteering or advocating for animal, environmental and human rights causes. Along with writing for Ecorazzi, she has contributed writing for nonprofits like Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and enjoys blogging. She resides in the Washington, DC area (and loves all the vegan food it has to offer). Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jennygonevegan.

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  • The Dave

    This is very interesting. I can’t wait to get more (and *more reliable*) details about the situation. A source close to me tells me the boarding took place 16 miles from Bunbury, but the coordinates Sea Shepherd and Forest Rescue give are just a few miles off of Rottnest Island – about a hundred miles north, much closer to Perth than Bunbury. More importantly, means the difference between being in Australia’s “contiguous zone” and being completely within her territory.

    • Kimitake Hiraoka

      What I’m interested in is why it is never Paul Watson who goes on these illegal boarding missions. While there are undoubtedly logistical challenges getting a man of his obesity onto an inflatable water craft, it would be nice to see him in Japanese custody and facing the judiciary for his actions.

      • The Dave

        I agree, especially because Watson likes to say, “If what I’m doing is illegal, then shut up and arrest me!”

  • The Dave

    It hasn’t been confirmed yet whether the SM2 was in Australian territorial waters. If she was only in its contiguous area or EEZ, Australian authorities and courts would have very limited jurisdiction.

  • Crwler

    First of all, the SM2 is not a “whaling vessel”. It carries no harpoon gun or other whaling gear. Second, they were not in Australian waters. They 40km out, roughly 24 miles. Australian territorial waters only extend 12 miles, just like every othe country. Sea Shepherds claims as to the position of the ship cannot be believed. They have absolutely no credibility. Their lies have done more damage to their reputaion than that of their opponents. I am positive the Japanese were very careful not to violate the 12 mile boundary. They know the rules, which is more than I can say for sea Shepherd. Boarding a vessel without permission is equivalent to breaking in to someones home. The Japanese would have been within their rights to just throw these idiots overboard. They are under no obligation to return them to Australia. These three fools will be going back to Japan, and then to jail. Bethune used the “get out of jail free” card already. Hope they like sushi. Then again, they are probably vegans.

  • romika3

    Is Paul Watson becoming delusional? This is now the question we should be asking. He authorized the SSCS to deliberately placed three protesters aboard a Japanese whaling ship heading to the Southern Ocean and below is the response that Watson posts on the SSCS web page. The response demonstrates a clear disconnect between Watson’s actions and his response. Clearly a red flag has been raised and should be noted buy both funders and the authorities!

    “It appears that the Japanese have clearly abducted three Australian citizens from the territorial waters of Australia inside the 24 nautical mile contiguous zone. These men were removed from Australian waters against their will without Australian Customs and Immigration clearance and they do not have passports,” said Captain Paul Watson. “I can’t imagine three Japanese boarding an Australian vessel 16 miles off of Japan and being transported to Australia against their will and the Japanese tolerating this. Japan now knows they have been given a green light by Australia to escalate their aggressive tactics.”