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Antarctic tensions grow as Senate calls for Government action

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 26 Feb 2013

The Senate has backed an Australian Greens motion calling for the Government to dispatch a monitoring vessel to observe ongoing whaling activities in our Antarctic territory, as videos emerge showing the extremely dangerous nature of the clashes taking place in Antarctic waters.

"It must be an absolute priority for the Government to act in response to today's motion in the Senate, which calls for urgent action to be taken as the dangerous and unpredictable action of whalers continues," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens marine spokesperson said today.

"The Japanese whalers are trying to imply they are the innocent parties in clashes with activists. Like the whole Japanese claim to be undertaking science based whaling, this is another myth.

"The reality, as shown through Sea Shepherd videos with clear lines of sight, is that the whaling ships are working in tandem to put vessels such as the Bob Barker at risk of serious damage. In doing so, they are jeopardising the lives of both crews, as well as increasing the likelihood of a fuel spill in this sensitive marine environment.

"Their extreme actions included the use of flash grenades and water cannons aimed at the ship's helm - making navigation practically impossible.

"The use of these grenades is made all the more alarming by the fact that one detonated in the proximity of the Sun Laurel, which is known to be carrying fuel for the fleet.

"The Government must act to offset the increasing danger in our waters. What more incentive do they need, given the ongoing conflicts and the recent escalation involving the arrival of a vessel from the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force.

"I implore the Prime Minister to take notice of the Senate's decision and act immediately," Senator Siewert concluded.




Motion Text:

Whaling in the Antarctic

I give notice that on the next day of sitting, I will move that;

The Senate:

1. Notes that the whaling presence in the Australian Antarctic Territory now includes a Japanese self-defence vessel with capacity for 250 personnel as well as a Korean flagged refuelling tanker;

2. Calls on the Government to take urgent action to address the escalating situation including sending a monitoring vessel to observe the whale hunt. 

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