Australia: Environment Minister ignores distress call from AntarcticBy Rowena Dela Rosa Yoon Mar 03, 2014 3:30PM UTC
The “Relentless Operation” of the Sea Shepherd Australia (SSA) is in distress following the attacks of Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.
Captain Peter Hammarstedt of The Bob Barker alleged that Japanese fleet has assaulted his vessel for the third time this season and has sounded alarm to the Australian Government asking for rescue. However, the distress call has fallen on the deaf ears.
The Captain also asked the New Zealand Government to cooperate in the mission to protect the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Update on March 4: Environment Minister Greg Hunt replied to the letter of Capt. Hammarstedt.
The Japanese are accused of throwing steel cables on Bob Barker’s bow, an attempt to disable the propeller and rudder of the ship. On Sunday, the whalers are also accused of throwing bamboo spear at the crew of the small boat rescue. The Bob Barker decided to launched two small boats to defend their ship and attempt to cut the steel cables during the assault. It sustained damage of the antennas of the small boat in the process, Capt. Hammarstedt claimed.
Hammarstedt said his vessel is carrying nine Australian volunteers who have joined the cause in protecting the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Earlier on Sunday, the Sea Shepherd Fleet located the Japanese factory vessel for the fourth time “with a dead, protected Minke Whale onboard, and blood running from the side of the ship. Slabs of whale meat were also filmed on the deck, along with the severed head of a recently butchered whale. “
Hammarstedt wrote a letter to Minister Hunt on Feb. 24 and bewailed how the minister ignored his plea. He said “the Australian government has failed in its duty to take any action against the poachers of the Japanese whaling fleet. “
Despite broken promises of the Government to protect the Southern Seas, the Sea Shepherd will remain relentless in its mission to guard the vast expanse of the sanctuary, “enforcing international conservation law when governments refuse to take action.”
Captain Paul Watson also announced earlier that Sea Shepherd cannot be stopped. He said Sea Shepherd is not only a group, but a movement of thousands of people pursuing their passion and courage to defend and protect the oceans.