Sea Shepherd sails into controversy
SEA Shepherd capt ai n Paul Watson says he is 75 per cent sure Japan will not start another whale hunt as his own vessels became the focus of an Australian Federal Police investigation.
The anti-whaling group’s two main ships, the Bob Barker and the Steve Irwin, arrived in Hobart yesterday morning after an Antarctic campaign which saw the Japanese withdraw early, citing harassment from the environmentalists.
For the third year running, AFP officers searched the anti-whaling vessels and prohibited members of the public from entering the nearby docks for about two and a half hours. An AFP spokeswoman confirmed the Sea Shepherd’s activities in the Southern Ocean would be investigated.
‘‘ The AFP is undertaking investigations in to the events which occurred in the Southern Ocean during January and February 2011, in accordance with Australian legislation and consistent with Australia’s obligations under internati onal l aw,’’ t he spokeswoman said.
’’( On Sunday) the AFP did execute search warrants on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessels in Hobart.’’ Once t he Sea Shepherd crew were per- mitted to disembark, a triumphant Mr Watson said he was confident his organisation was winning its fight. ‘‘ Every year we’ve been going down stronger and they’ve been going down weaker,’’ he said.
‘‘ This year they realised they can’t outrun us ... they just decided to call it quits. I’m 75 per cent sure they won’t be back next year but, if they are, we’ll be prepared to come back.’’
CONFIDENCE: The anti-whaling ships the Bob Barker and Steve Irwin berthed in Hobart yesterday. Crew members Howie Cooke, Deborah Bassett, Captain Paul Watson and Izumi Stephens