Friday, January 18, 2008

They had a whale of a time

Australians remove Anti-Whaling Protestors from ship.

Two anti-whaling protesters who boarded a Japanese whaling ship in the Southern Ocean have been released. The transfer defuses a tense situation on the Antarctic seas, but activists say they will continue to harass the Japanese fleet.

The Australian government finally offered to end the impasse by sending a customs ship, the Oceanic Viking, to retrieve the activists. Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says the transfer worked smoothly because of Canberra's close diplomatic ties with Tokyo. "If we didn't have such a strong relationship with Japan, then over the last couple of days we wouldn't have seen both the Australian government and the Japanese government at one wanting to secure and affect the safe and speedy transfer of Benjamin Potts and the U.K. national," said Smith.

The Japanese had offered earlier to send the men back to their ship, if the protesters would stop harassing the whaling fleet. The captain of the protest ship refused to accept the condition. (editor's note: IMO he should be tied to the mast, too.)

The men are now back on board the Sea Shepherd vessel. Potts, the Australian, says the campaign against the whalers will continue. "Hopefully we'll continue with the chase until such time that we have to head back - same as before, we'll continue to harass the Japanese fleet and prevent them from whaling," he said.
Australian police are investigating the actions of two men. Law experts say the pair are subject to Australian law, and could face a range of charges including a criminal act of terrorism.
Australia sent the Oceanic Viking to the Antarctic last month to collect evidence that could be used in international court action against the Japanese whaling program.

I sure hope they bring these fools up on charges.