Sea Shepherd Aussie Crew Prepared to Be Taken as Prisoners to Japan

The Australian government has informed the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society that they are not prepared to provide any assistance if the Japanese whalers seize any crew from the whale conservation vessel Steve Irwin.

Japan has said that any crewmembers seized by their crews will be returned to Japan for prosecution for interfering with their whaling operations.

In a message to Captain Paul Watson, Tony Donne of the Australian Federal Police, speaking on behalf of the Australian government wrote:

"As the Australian Government has previously outlined, now that the monitoring mission of the Oceanic Viking has been completed, neither protest nor whaling vessels can in any way assume that the Australian Government will be in a position to respond immediately in the event of any serious incident.

You should also understand that it may not be possible for the Australian Government to intervene, in the event of another boarding incident, to facilitate the transfer of people from one vessel to another on the high seas."

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is very much aware of the fact that the Australian government cannot be depended upon for assistance in the remote waters of the Australian Antarctic Territory. There is no Australian government presence in the territorial waters. There are armed Japanese Coast Guard officers in these waters which is a de facto invasion of Australian sovereignty by the nation of Japan, a fact that Canberra has not said a word about.

"It will be interesting to see what the Australian government will or will not do if Japanese whale poachers seize Australian citizens in Australian waters for protecting whales in support of an Australian Federal Court order prohibiting the killing of whales by Japan in these same waters," Said Captain Paul Watson. "Australia will effectively become a vassal state to Japan having already ceded armed control of the territorial waters to the Japanese Coast Guard. What a disgrace that will be to see Australian whale defenders put on trial in Japan, by poachers specifically prohibited from whaling BY Australian law, for upholding the law in Australian territory."

Jeff Hansen, 34, of Fremantle said, "I am an educated citizen who knows that the Australian government will not end whaling in Australian waters by Japan unless they act to uphold the law and the concerns of the Australian people who want this annual slaughter to be ended. This is an Australian Whale Sanctuary and I am risking my life to protect it and I am prepared to be taken prisoner by the Japanese whalers and hauled off to court in Tokyo if that is what it takes to end this on-going crime against the whales, against Australia and the world. If this effort requires me to make a personal sacrifice than that is what I am prepared to do. This issue is the Gallipoli of our generation and we must resist this invasion by Japanese poachers."

The Australian crewmembers prepared to be taken prisoner are:

Dr. David Page is 49 years old and a specialist anesthetist from New South Wales. Dr. Page is a father of 2 and has supported his wife when she chaired the Cancer Council where she received an AM, Australian Honour.

Robert Garcia is 44 years old and a father of two beautiful girls. Robert grew up in Heidelberg, Victoria and is self employed, a jack-of-all-trades. Robert has also done a lot of community work including helping out the Margaret Oats food van which feeds the homeless in Collingwood, Victoria.

Alex Wallman is 27 years old and grew up in Geelong, Victoria. Alex is very passionate about the environment and helps out with various groups. He is a professional Graphic Designer.

Nicola Paris is 32 years old and grew up in Fremantle, Western Australia. Nicola has run for state and federal parliament (Greens); she has also worked for a senator in the political system for several years. Nicola is a long term peace, social justice and environment advocator.

Jeff Hansen is 34 years old and currently lives in Fremantle, Western Australia.  Jeff has a double degree with honors in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science and a Diploma of education. Jeff also has a mortgage and a high paying professional position. Jeff is a very proud Australian who can no longer sit around and wait for our governments to act on their false promises while this cherished land fades away. Like his great Uncle Teddy Sheean, Jeff believes in fighting for what is right, and he does this not alone but with the support of thousands of Australians that stand behind him.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has retained a lawyer in Tokyo and is prepared to cover the legal costs of defending our crew in Japan if need be.

"We need to take a stand on this atrocity," said Robert Garcia.

"Antarctica is the last relatively untouched wilderness in the world and that is something I'm prepared to make sacrifices for," Said Dr. David Page.

"The government may have surrendered the whales to the Japanese whalers, but the Australian people will never abandon them," Said Nicola Paris.

"We spend billions exploring space for extra-terrestrial life, yet at the same time we are exterminating some of the most magnificent, intelligent and socially complex beings on this planet. We need to defend the whales from the ignorance and the arrogance of their killers," Said Alex Wallman.

In addition to the five Australians willing to board the whaling ships for deportation to Japan there are volunteers from the United States, Canada, Sweden, South Africa, Great Britain and the Netherlands willing to board the ships to deliver a strong message that the killing of whales in Antarctic waters will not be tolerated anymore.

"We will see the end of whaling down here in this Whale Sanctuary or we will die or be imprisoned in our attempts to stop this arrogant poaching of whales by Japan," said Amber Paarman, 24, of Cape Town, South Africa.

Tomorrow Sea Shepherd will mark the fourth week that whaling has been shut down in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary this season. The Captain and crew are preparing to make that five and six weeks.

The temperatures are falling, the storms are increasing and within a few weeks conditions will force the Japanese fleet to head for home.

"They will be going home without their full quota and that is a certainty," said Captain Paul Watson.