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.”