The allegation that the Steve Irwin was running without navigational lights is false. The Steve Irwin also maintained a very safe distance between the whaling vessels and themselves at all times during this time. The documentary crew on the Steve Irwin has audio tapes of the communications between the Steve Irwin and the Japanese vessels and between the Steve Irwin and New Zealand Search and Rescue. After the Japanese whaling fleet refused assistance, the Steve Irwin moved out of the search area and was followed for twelve hours by the harpoon vessel Yushin Maru #3.

Although the Japanese whaling fleet is barred from entering Australian and New Zealand ports because of their illegal whaling activities they have demanded that Australia and New Zealand close their ports to Sea Shepherd. During five voyages to the Southern Ocean to protect whales, the Sea Shepherd crews have not caused a single injury, damaged any property nor have any criminal charges been filed in response to conservation anti-poaching efforts.

The Japanese whaling fleet is targeting endangered whales in an established international whale sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling and in contempt of an Australian Federal Court order prohibiting whaling in the territorial waters of the Australian Antarctic Territory.

"The whalers are acting very dishonourably," said Captain Paul Watson. "They are using every opportunity to demonize us by making unsubstantiated accusations. They continually call us terrorists yet we have never injured anyone, damaged their property nor have we been charged with a crime. They have handed their honour over to disreputable public relations agents who have no scruples about spinning the facts to justify their cruel enterprise in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary."

The Steve Irwin is presently en route back to Hobart in Tasmania to refuel before returning to the Southern Ocean to resume efforts to defend the whales from illegal Japanese whaling activities.



The Steve Irwin offers assistance to the Japanese fleet
by marine VHF radio in English and in Japanese

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