Sea Shepherd Critical of Greenpeace Failure to Stop Re-fueling

The Japanese whaling fleet has moved one step closer to the resumption of killing the whales with the failure by Greenpeace to prevent the refueling of the Nisshin Maru by the Panamanian registered Oriental Bluebird.

"Greenpeace had the opportunity to prevent the refueling. They were there and they allowed the refueling to proceed," said Captain Paul Watson. "That is unforgivable. The reason they gave for backing off was that is was too dangerous. Of course it's dangerous. Stopping the whaling fleet is not a game. If Greenpeace is not willing to take the risks they should at least cooperate with those who are willing to take such risks."

Twice before the Oriental Bluebird has broken off refueling just at the approach of a Sea Shepherd ship.

"We could have been there to stop the refueling but Greenpeace refused to supply the coordinates. This caused us to fall behind a day. We could have had them and we could have stopped them," said Captain Watson. "This refusal by Greenpeace to cooperate with Sea Shepherd is going to get a lot of whales killed and that is unconscionable. It's a disgrace."

The Oriental Bluebird was in violation of the Antarctic Treaty by refueling the Nisshin Maru inside the Antarctic treaty zone. Sea Shepherd is prepared to enforce that law and Sea Shepherd would have placed the Steve Irwin between the two ships if that is what it would have taken to stop them.

The Steve Irwin is a day away from the Japanese fleet, pushing ever eastward to make up lost ground after getting diverted from the fleet by the insistence of the Australian government to have the Oceanic Viking rendezvous miles away from the fleet to transfer the crew that were held hostage on the Japanese ship Yushin Maru No. 2.

The Steve Irwin continues to be pursued by the Japanese registered Fukuyoshi Maru No. 68 which is relaying Sea Shepherd coordinates to the Japanese fleet placing Sea Shepherd at a great disadvantage.

"All we can do is push eastward towards the Japanese fleet hoping to engage them or at least to keep pushing them onwards," said Steve Irwin's 1st Officer Peter Brown.