Australia requested the immediate release of three anti-whaling activists detained on board of a Japanese ship in the Southern Ocean waters.
The three Australian men illegally boarded the Shonan Maru 2, a support vessel for Japan’s whaling fleet, carrying a message that read “Return us to shore in Australia and then remove yourself from our waters.” The boarding occurred on Sunday night off the Western Australia state coast.
Since the incident took place outside Australian territorial waters, the three are accountable according to Japanese laws, according to a statement by Australia’s Attorney-General Nicola Roxon. She however added she hoped a deal could be done with Japan so that the three would be transferred to Australian authorities.
“We are representing our views most strongly that they should be released promptly and returned to Australian soil,” Roxon said.
She said that the Japanese boat is not welcome in the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone, even if it is not directly involved in whaling activities.
“This ship, people need to remember, is not directly involved in whaling activities, but it is clearly providing a support role and that may give us some other options if it was trying to come into our territorial waters,” she said.