JAPANESE WHALERS HOLDING TWO SEA SHEPHERD CREW MEMBERS HOSTAGE ON WHALING SHIP

Photos, video, and additional information: http://media.seashepherd.org

ABOARD THE STEVE IRWIN – 15 January 2008 — 0700 GMT – Antarctic Whale Sanctuary

The captain of the Japanese Whaling Vessel Yushin Maru No. 2 is holding two Sea Shepherd crew members from the conservation vessel Steve Irwin hostage.

Australian citizen Benjamin Potts and British citizen Giles Lane have been tied to the radar mast of the harpoon vessel. The Captain of the whaling vessel has refused Captain Paul Watson’s demand for the release of the crew.

The two crew members boarded the whaling vessel with a message to inform them that they were illegally killing whales in the Southern Whale Sanctuary.

Sea Shepherd is demanding that Australia and Great Britain demand an immediate release of these two crew-members.

The letter delivered to the captain of the Japanese whaling vessel stated the following:

To: The Captain of any Japanese ship

Involved with poaching operations in The Australian Antarctic Territorial Economic Exclusion Zone.

Sir,

My name is Giles David Lane

I am a British citizen and an unpaid volunteer on the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel Steve Irwin

I have come onboard your ship because you have refused to acknowledge communication from our ship pertaining to your illegal activities in the waters of the Australian Antarctic Territorial Economic Exclusion Zone.

I am not boarding your ship with the intent to commit a crime, to rob you or to inflict injury upon your crew and yourself or damage to your ship. My reason for boarding is to deliver the message that you are in violation of international conservation law and in violation of the laws of Australia. It is my intent to deliver this message and then to request that you allow me to disembark from your vessel without harm or seizure.

I am empowered to act to uphold these laws in accordance with the United Nations World Charter for Nature and the laws of Australia.

I am boarding you with the request that you please refrain from any further criminal activity in these waters and cease and desist with the continued killing of endangered whales in this designated Whale Sanctuary in violation of the IWC global moratorium on commercial whaling and that you cease and desist in continued violations of Australian law by killing whales within the territorial waters of Australia without permit or permission from the government of Australia.

I am boarding you on the orders of Captain Paul Watson who requests that you treat me with respect and in accordance with the Geneva Convention.

UPDATE:

SEA SHEPHERD CREW REMAIN HOSTAGES ON THE JAPANESE WHALING SHIP

ABOARD THE STEVE IRWIN – 16 January 2008 — 0500 GMT

Twenty-four hours later, Sea Shepherd crew members Giles Lane from the U.K. and Benjamin Potts from Australia remain hostages on the Yushin Maru No. 2.

Media Reports that the hostages have been released to the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin are false. Reports that the Steve Irwin will not accept calls from the Japanese vessels or authorities are false. No calls have been received. The Yushin Maru No. 2 has refused to return radio calls from the Steve Irwin.

No one from the Japanese or Australian government has contacted Sea Shepherd to organize the transfer of the hostages from the Japanese whaler back to the Steve Irwin. The Institute for Cetacean Research, the front group for the illegal Japanese whaling operations did send a letter with demands to be met prior to a release. Sea Shepherd is not interested in any demands based on the holding of hostages.

“Using hostages to make demands is the hallmark of terrorism and Sea Shepherd has no interest in negotiating with terrorist groups,” said Captain Paul Watson. “The hostages must be released unconditionally.”

Sea Shepherd is releasing the letter it received from ICR to the media. Click for letter.

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