Australian Federal Police Return Sea Shepherd’s Logbooks
No Charges and All Crew are Free to Go Where They Wish
On March 11, the Australian Federal Police returned the logbooks for the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker.
No arrests have been made following the raid on the two ships based on a request by the Japanese government. Sea Shepherd expects no arrests.
The Australian Federal Police boarded the Steve Irwin last year when the ship returned from defending the whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Nothing was heard of that boarding afterwards, and Sea Shepherd is not expecting to hear anything concerning the most recent boarding.
“The police are obligated to act on the Japanese request, but I don’t think the Australian Federal Police feel there is sufficient evidence to make any arrests,” said Captain Paul Watson.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society would actually welcome any arrests and the opportunity to take this entire issue before the courts. It would be an opportunity to expose a great deal about Japanese illegal whaling operations in the Southern Oceans. It would also be a legal nightmare. Four different flags represent the ships involved. The Japanese have their own flag, and Sea Shepherd had ships registered in the Netherlands (Steve Irwin), Togo (Bob Barker), and New Zealand (Ady Gil). The crews of the Sea Shepherd ships represent 18 different nationalities. The incidents took place in the Australian Antarctic Territorial waters and in international waters. The Ady Gil departed from New Zealand, the Steve Irwin from Australia, and the Bob Barker from Mauritius. The jurisdictional complications would be a challenge.
The Japanese have Captain Pete Bethune and Sea Shepherd and Captain Bethune will use any trial in Japan to the maximum benefit for the whales.
This is the sixth Sea Shepherd campaign to oppose illegal Japanese whaling without a single criminal conviction, a single civil suit, or a single maritime violation for Sea Shepherd.
The Japanese have been boasting about how Togo has stripped the Bob Barker of its flag. If this is true, Togo has not notified Sea Shepherd or Australia of this. The Bob Barker entered legally into Australia as a Togo registered vessel.
The Dutch government has not issued any reprimands nor have they charged the Steve Irwin with any maritime violations.
Sea Shepherd’s Operation Waltzing Matilda was a great success. Sea Shepherd is confident that the kill quotas have been cut by half and that once again the Japanese fleet has failed to turn a profit from their illegal activities.