Three Forest Rescue activists have been held on the Shonan Maru #2 after boarding in an effort to assist Sea Shepherd’s anti-whaling campaign, and until now it has been unclear whether the three would be taken back to Japan to face charges or returned to their native Australia.
Today news broke that Japan has decided to release Geoffrey Tuxworth, Simon Peterffy and Glen Pendlebury into Australian custody. According to ABC News, Japan has decided not to bring any charges against the three men as they have not caused any damage to the ship or injured any members of the crew. The Japanese and Australian governments are reportedly in talks regarding how and when the activists will be transferred.
After boarding with the help of Sea Shepherd boats, Tuxworth, Peterffy and Pendlebury told the whalers to return them to their country and leave Australian waters. Japan has said that the Shonan Maru #2 was not in Australia’s contiguous zone, but Sea Shepherd maintains that the ship was and cites their GPS coordinates at the time of boarding - 32° 57” 48” South and 115° 20’ 24” East.
Australia hesitated to demand the release of the three activists, and Sea Shepherd has expressed their frustration with the government for not intervening after the ship entered Australian waters and detained three citizens. Today, Captain Paul Watson posted a message to Prime Minister Julia Gillard on his Facebook page with the results of a poll in Adelaide Now, saying “What do the people of Australia think of the boarding of the Shonan Maru #2…Were activists right in boarding the vessel? Yes 92.92% (4079 votes), No 7.08% (311 votes), Total votes: 4390…Memo to the Gillard government: These people vote Julia.”