Japanese Whalers holding two Sea Shepherd crew members hostage on whaling ship

ABOARD THE STEVE IRWIN - 15 January 2008 -- 0700 GMT

The captain of the Yushin Maru No. 2 is holding two Sea Shepherd crew hostage.

Australian citizen Benjamin Potts and British citizen Giles Lane have been tied to the radar mast of the harpoon vessel.

The Captain has refused Captain Paul Watson's demand for the release of the crew.

The two crew members boarded the whaler with a message to inform them that they were illegally killing whales in the Southern Whale Sanctuary.

Sea Shepherd is demanding that Australia and Great Britain demand an immediate release of these two crew-members.

The letter stated the following:

To: The Captain of any Japanese ship
Involved with poaching operations in The Australian Antarctic Territorial Economic Exclusion Zone.


My name is Giles David Lane

I am a British citizen and an unpaid volunteer on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel Steve Irwin

I have come onboard your ship because you have refused to acknowledge communication from our ship pertaining to your illegal activities in the waters of the Australian Antarctic Territorial Economic Exclusion Zone.

I am not boarding your ship with the intent to commit a crime, to rob you or to inflict injury upon your crew and yourself or damage to your ship. My reason for boarding is to deliver the message that you are in violation of international conservation law and in violation of the laws of Australia. It is my intent to deliver this message and then to request that you allow me to disembark from your vessel without harm or seizure.

I am empowered to act to uphold these laws in accordance with the United Nations World Charter for Nature and the laws of Australia.

I am boarding you with the request that you please refrain from any further criminal activity in these waters and cease and desist with the continued killing of endangered whales in this designated Whale Sanctuary in violation of the IWC global moratorium on commercial whaling and that you cease and desist in continued violations of Australian law by killing whales within the territorial waters of Australia without permit or permission from the government of Australia.

I am boarding you on the orders of Captain Paul Watson who requests that you treat me with respect and in accordance with the Geneva Convention.