7 January, 2012
Three Australian Prisoners Now Detained on a Japanese Whaler in Australian Waters.
Geoffrey Owen Tuxworth (47) of Perth, Simon Peterffy (44) of Bunbury and Glen Pendlebury (27) of Fremantle, all from Forest Rescue came by boat from shore to intercept the Japanese vessel the Shonan Maru #2 which was tailing the Sea Shepherd ship the Steve Irwin 16.2 miles off the coast and 22 miles Northwest of Bunbury, Western Australia. The Shonan Maru's position when boarded was 32 degrees, zero minutes south and 115 degrees, 21 minutes east. They were met by two small boats from the Steve Irwin. The boats approached the Shonan Maru under the cover of darkness and the three negotiated their way past the razor wire and spikes and over the rails to successfully board the Japanese whaling vessel.
They came with a message. “Return us to shore in Australia and then remove yourself from our waters.”
At the present time, three Australian citizens are being held as prisoners onboard the Japanese vessel the Shonan Maru #2. They are being held in the twenty-four mile contiguous zone of Australia by an invading Japanese vessel containing armed Japanese military personnel.
Statement from Forest Rescue
We have come from the forests of Australia to defend the whales being slaughtered in Australian territorial waters.
We are Australian citizens and we have boarded the Japanese flagged Shonan Maru #2 in Australian territorial waters at a position of (32 degrees zero minutes south and 115 degrees 21 minutes east). We have taken this action of boarding the Shonan Maru #2 to protest the fact that this vessel is part of a whaling fleet that is operating in contempt of the Australian Court and is in Australian waters in defiance of the Australian Federal court ruling and the will of the Australian people.
Shonan Maru 2 final position when it was actually boarded was 32° 57' 48" South and 115° 20' 24" East. The pursuit began near Rottnest Island off Perth.
The ship was 16.2 nautical miles or 30 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia
“We are on-board this ship because our government has failed to uphold its pre-election promise to end whaling in the Southern Ocean,” said Simon Peterffy.
Forest Rescue is making a stand to assist Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in their campaign to end illegal whale poaching in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
We are taking this action to remind the Australian government of their obligation to enforce existing laws pertaining to the prohibition of whaling ships in our waters.
We as Forest Rescue are insulted and disappointed in our government for allowing the transit of whale poaching vessels in Australian waters.
The Shonan Maru boarding incident: Timeline of events - http://www.seashepherd.org/news-and-media/2012/01/11/the-shonan-maru-2-boarding-incident-1313
So does Simon's commitment to activism make him a target? "I think the government and the police would love us to stand around and wave banners and sign petitions and have little cake stalls and this sort of thing. They'd love those types of protesters."
"What they really dislike is the non-violent action. Direct action. Particularly when that non-violent direct action turns out to be save a particular town's forest or their ecosystem."
Excerpt from an article from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society website
by Paul Watson:
Focusing attention on things that matter is always positive
The boarding made the media worldwide, not just in Australia and Japan where it was significantly newsworthy.
It exposed the illegal invasion of Australian territorial waters by Japanese whalers and it exposed the Australian government’s lack of action in following through on campaign promises to end illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean.
The Prime Minister and the Attorney General citing the cost to the tax payer are simply trying to demonise activists. It was their choice to make the expensive decision to transfer the men at sea to the Customs vessel which was in the Southern Ocean already. They could have been transferred to the Steve Irwin at no cost to the taxpayer.
The cost of the transfer could have been taken from the $6 million dollar fund Peter Garrett set up for non-lethal research on whaling which has not resulted in anything profound nor substantial. When it is considered that every elected member of the government costs the Australian tax payers 1.6 million dollars annually, the recovery of the activists is a rather small sum to pay for three Australians to draw attention to illegal whaling ships in Australian waters. I would even venture to say that these three men from Forest Rescue have done more in their capacity as civilian activists to protect the forests, waters and endangered species of Australia than your average Australian politician.
Much Ado About Nothing
Australia's Attorney General bullies whale defenders
The Prime Minister of Australia and the Australian Attorney General Nicola Roxon have made a big deal about how much money it cost to recover the three Forest Rescue men who boarded the Shonan Maru No. 2 inside the Australian Contiguous zone. To hear the two of them harp on you would think that the treasury was drained and that taxpayers should rise up in fiery indignation at such a waste of Australian revenue.
Of course it’s all hypocritical demonising with the objective of turning public sentiment against the protest action by Geoffrey Owen Tuxworth, Simon Peterffy, and Glen Pendlebury.
It’s all political posturing of course. Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Attorney General Nicola Roxon are simply using their position of power to bully three citizens for daring to exercise their passion for defending the destruction of our forests and oceanic ecosystems.