Things are heating up in the whaling dispute.
The battle of wills between Japanese whalers and environmentalists in the Antarctic took a dramatic turn yesterday when two members of the marine conservation group Sea Shepherd were detained by the crew of the harpoon ship they had climbed aboard.
Their detention came hours after a federal court in Sydney ordered Japan to end this year's kill of almost 1,000 whales, ruling the hunt illegal because of it being conducted in Australia's exclusive economic zone.
Giles Lane, a Briton, along with Benjamin Potts, an Australian, were held after boarding the ship named Yushin Maru No. 2, in the Southern Ocean. Their intention was to deliver a letter calling on the fleet to end its "illegal" hunt. Lane, 35, wrote in the letter: "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."
Now the Japanese are allegedly demanding that Sea Shepherd no longer interfere with their whaling operations in exchange for release of the two crewmen.
From Sea Shepherd's web site:
The Institute of Cetacean Research, the front group for the illegal Japanese whaling operations are making demands for the release of the two Sea Shepherd crew being held hostage onboard the Japanese whaling vessel Yushin Maru No. 2.
The whalers said they will return the hostages in return for Sea Shepherd agreeing to no longer interfere with their whaling operations.
“The Institute of Cetacean Research is acting like a terrorist organization,” said Steve Irwin’s 1st Officer Peter Brown. “Here they are taking hostages and making demands. Our policy is that we don’t respond to terrorist demands.”
Lots more on Sea Shepherd's website.