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Thursday, 21 February 2013

Whaler’s refuelling threat grows as Government inaction continues

The Australian Greens have called on the Federal Government to immediately intervene and stop illegal refuelling of the Japanese whaling fleet in Australia’s Antarctic Territory as safety threats grow.

“I am writing to Minister Burke requesting that he urgently intervenes and orders the Japanese fleet to leave Australian waters, as well as dispatching a monitoring vessel immediately,” Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens marine spokesperson said today.

“There are reports that the whaling fleet and Sea Shepherd are operating in close proximity as the factory ship Nisshin Maru attempts to illegally refuel from the Korean-flagged Sun Laurel.

“These refuelling efforts are dangerous and are in breach of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), which prevents vessels from carrying Heavy Fuel Oil in Antarctic waters. They also represent a breach of Australian law.

“Already this week there have been reports of fuel leaking from the whaling fleet into the ocean. This pollution is yet another example of the Japanese Government’s absolute disregard for Australia’s territorial waters and international law.

“Enforcing important environmental protections has become a matter of urgency.

“It is not acceptable for the Environment Minister to sit back and say ‘we’re doing enough’ while he waits for the decision on Australia’s legal case in the International Court of Justice. The Japanese whaling fleet is clearly acting illegally in our waters and the Government does nothing. The Government should apply for an immediate injunction against this year’s hunt.

“An order for the refuelling to stop and for the fleet to leave Australian waters must be a matter of priority,” Senator Siewert concluded

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