Sea Shepherd Crew Anxious to Return to the Battle in the Southern Oceans

Captain Paul Watson and his crew of international volunteers are anxious to refuel, re-supply and complete repairs as soon as possible in order to return to the Southern Oceans.

News that the Japanese whaling fleet has resumed killing with the death of five whales today has been received with sadness, anger and a determined resolve to return to obstruct the whalers.

"We shut down whaling operations for most of January. We stayed down as long as we dared to prevent whaling until the end of the month. We achieved that goal," said Captain Paul Watson. "Now we have a new objective and that is to return as soon as possible to continue our campaign to stop the illegal slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and in the Australian Antarctic Territorial waters."

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is disappointed with the stance that the Australian government has taken in refusing to uphold an Australian court ruling banning Japanese whaling in the Australian Antarctic Economic Exclusion Zone.

"Taking pictures of whalers illegally killing whales is not the way to enforce the law," said Sea Shepherd Executive Director Kim McCoy. "If the police saw a bank robbery taking place they would not take pictures of the heist. They would arrest the criminal. We fail to see why Japanese poachers are being given free rein to violate Australian law."

Australia's announcement that they have agreed with Japan to disagree on whaling is not going to save any whales. Australia's position that they are "disappointed" in the resumption of whaling means nothing unless the government acts on this disappointment to stop the poaching of whales by Japan in Australian waters.

Captain Watson is warning Japan that anti-whaling activities will escalate and will become stronger every year.

"This is going to be a never ending trip to the dentist for Japan," said Captain Paul Watson. "We intend to remain a constant, nagging, festering pain to their intentions to continue to illegally kill whales. We will never surrender our efforts to protect the defenseless whales from the barbaric cruelty that Japanese harpoons inflict upon these highly intelligent, socially complex, gentle beings. As long as Japan continues to invade the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, we will continue to defend it."

Sixteen of the Steve Irwin's crew will be staying with the ship. The departing eighteen crewmembers will be replaced by Sea Shepherd volunteers from Australia and around the world.