Sea Shepherd Crew Remain Hostages On The Japanese Whaling Ship

ABOARD THE STEVE IRWIN - 16 January 2008 -- 0500 GMT

Twenty-four hours later, Sea Shepherd crew members Giles Lane from the U.K. and Benjamin Potts from Australia remain hostages on the Yushin Maru No. 2.

Media Reports that the hostages have been released to the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin are false. Reports that the Steve Irwin will not accept calls from the Japanese vessels or authorities are false. No calls have been received. The Yushin Maru No. 2 has refused to return radio calls from the Steve Irwin.

No one from the Japanese or Australian government has contacted Sea Shepherd to organize the transfer of the hostages from the Japanese whaler back to the Steve Irwin.

The Institute for Cetacean Research, the front group for the illegal Japanese whaling operations did send a letter with demands to be met prior to a release. Sea Shepherd is not interested in any demands based on the holding of hostages.

"Using hostages to make demands is the hallmark of terrorism and Sea Shepherd has no interest in negotiating with terrorist groups," said Captain Paul Watson. "The hostages must be released unconditionally."