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Friday, December 23, 2005

Whaling a diplomatic incident: Brown.

Whaling a diplomatic incident: Brown. 23/12/2005. ABC News Online

Whaling a diplomatic incident: Brown

It is claimed the Japanese killing of whales in Australia's Antarctic waters is tantamount to a diplomatic incident.

Greens leader Senator Bob Brown says Australia should have sent a surveillance ship to the area to document what he describes as the bloody carnage.

The whaling ship Keiku Maru is heading to Hobart with a sick sailor.

Senator Brown says the Australian Government should detain the ship and call in the Japanese ambassador

"This is a diplomatic incident and our diplomacy has failed," he said.

"It must be ratcheted up as there are many ways in which that can be done.

"The Prime Minister needs to ensure that he's responding to public feeling on this, he's way behind the game at the moment."
Protest widens

Greenpeace has said it will not hinder the medical transfer but it will try to prevent the refuelling and the ship's return to whaling in the Southern Ocean.

Spokesman Steve Shallhorn says the crew member may be transferred and the ship refuelled well out to sea, because of the likely protest action.

"Our latest information is that it would refuel for about four hours Saturday morning," he said.

"But we have to assume that their plans may change as public protest grows, so we'll just have to wait and see, we'll keep our eyes and ears open and see what happens."

Stuart Lennox, from Tasmanian protest group Eco-Fleet, expects many people will be out on the water tomorrow to show their opposition.

"We'd just like to see that ship not go back to the Southern Ocean and be kept here in Tasmania, so if it does there is going to be less whales killed in the Southern Ocean," he said.

Japanese Fisheries Agency spokesman Hideki Moronuki says the protests are counter-productive.

"I have to ask them to refrain from doing such dangerous activities, including disrupting our research facilities in the port," he said.

Greenpeace boats have tried to come between the Japanese harpooners and minke whales.

Mr Moronuki says accidents are the fault of Greenpeace.

"It's quite dangerous, any collision would not have occurred if Greenpeace were not there," he said.

Mr Moronuki says the use of by-products of Japanese scientific work on whales should not be confused with traditions of eating whale.

"Actually we have a tradition to eat whale meat and in order to harvest in sustainable manner we have to get enough scientific information for this purpose," he said.

According to Greenpeace, Japan is doubling its take of minke whales to more than 900 this year.
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