Captain Paul Watson calls on the New Australian Government to Act for the Whales

Captain Paul Watson has issued a strong appeal to the new Labor Government of Australia.  In a letter drafted from on board the ship the Steve Irwin on its way to defend whales in Australian/Antarctic waters, Captain Watson called on new Environment Minister Peter Garrett to fulfill his campaign promises and send a naval ship to the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary

Captain Watson has asked all Australians to hold the Labor Government accountable to its campaign promises to act rather than simply talk about saving endangered whales.


The Honorable Peter Garrett MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Dear Sir,

I heard today that you will not be sending a Naval vessel to monitor the activities of the illegal Japanese whaling fleet in the waters of the Australian Antarctic Territory?

Can you confirm if this is true?

Thousands of our members and supporters voted for you on the basis that you would take a more aggressive stand against outlaw whaling than the former government.

Perhaps, the Japanese Ambassador has paid Mr. Rudd a visit to explain who is master and who is servant in the Asian Pacific territory?

Sir, I have 16 Australians on my crew of 41 onboard the Steve Irwin. I have a media crew and citizens from 9 other nations. We are on a dangerous mission and the Japanese have threatened to use force against us if we interfere with their operations. We of course will do nothing that will threaten injury to any of the crew on the Japanese vessels.

I would like to pose a couple of questions to you.

1. What will your government do if the Japanese injure or kill any of the Australian or non-Australian crew on my ship?

2. What will your government do if the Japanese whalers seize and hold hostage any Australian citizens from the Steve Irwin?

Sir, We need you to send a Naval ship not just to monitor the Japanese fleet but to protect the life and liberty of Australian citizens onboard the Steve Irwin.

Australia should really be defending the sovereignty of the Australian Antarctic Territory. Why does Australia intervene against toothfish poachers in these same waters and seize their vessels but does nothing about the killing of the whales? Is Australian law applicable only to poor nations like Uruguay and Indonesia?

Don't you think that trade wise that Japan needs Australia more than Australia needs Japan?

If you decide that your government will refrain from sending a naval vessel down to these waters, I fear you may be placing our lives in danger by leaving our fate to the merciless, remorseless killers of the whales.

Sir, you have it in your power to win the gratitude of the Australian people and people the world over by exercising Australian authority over Australian territory. I implore you to send a ship to these waters. I implore you to do more than to continue to talk about the illegal slaughter. I implore you to take action.

Please do not allow this promise to be broken for I fear that it will frame the integrity of your government for years to come if you do so.

We are now closing in on the coast of Antarctica and we will begin our search for these vicious outlaw killers. The whales could really use your support Sir, today, now! We cannot afford another charade of diplomatic posturing that the Japanese government laughs off. Don't you see that by targeting these humpbacks they are slapping the Australian people in the face and saying, "we will do whatever we wish in your territorial waters and your government has not got the guts to stop us."

Every one of my Australian crewmembers voted for Labor. Some refrained from voting Green just because of your promise to defend the whales. Is this a broken promise? Must I tell my crew that your government is just business as usual and to hell with the whales and the environment. Build the pulp meals, cut down the forests and slaughter the whales - is this the business as usual position that Labor will now take or will you make history as a government that keeps it's promises and takes an aggressive stand to defend this planet, our oceans and the diversity of life.

I hope so, I sincerely hope so because when even the best of governments fail to act and consistently fail to act then desperation leads to disaster. Will we lose the whales Sir?

Are you a friend of the whales or a friend of Japanese trade and commerce first and foremost?


Captain Paul Watson
Master - The Steve Irwin
Master - The Farley Mowat
Founder and President of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society