The Australian Attorney General shot thoughtlessly and shamelessly from the lip yesterday when she spoke to the media about the incident off the coast of Western Australia.
Australia’s attorney general Nicola Roxon did not hesitate to explain why she could do nothing to help secure the release of the three men presently being held captive onboard the Japanese whaling fleet security ship Shonan Maru #2. The incident happened outside of Australia’s territorial waters, she said, and there is nothing she could do about it.
How did she know where the incident took place? She knew because the public relations mouthpiece for the whalers, Glenn Inwood from New Zealand, told her so.
That was good enough for Nicola. She had her excuse and did not need to complicate that excuse with actual facts and evidence.
According to the Japanese they were some 44 kilometers offshore and conveniently one mile outside the twenty-four mile contiguous zone, the area where Australian Customs and Immigration have absolute control.
The actual position of the boarding was 16.2 miles off the beach. How do we know that? We know that because of a device called GPS and that shows their position at 32° 57” 48” South and 115° 20’ 24” East.
It’s not just our GPS units on the Steve Irwin and our small boats but the time and position should be on the GPS unit of the Shonan Maru #2. That unit is all the evidence the three Australian men need to prove where and when they boarded the Japanese vessel.
It would have been easier if the Shonan Maru #2 had their AIS system activated as required by law, but they did not.
Today the Australian government said they had no idea where the three men were or where the Shonan Maru #2 was. Of course all they would have had to do is call us and we could have told them exactly where the Japanese ship was, and still is: exactly ten miles behind us where it has been tailing us for nearly a month.
The Attorney General said the vessel had the right of innocent passage through Australian waters. However this is the same ship that cut the Ady Gil in half and was not held accountable for the damages and whose captain refused to cooperate with the Australian government’s investigation into the destruction of the Ady Gil.
And the Shonan Maru #2 was not exercising the right of innocent passage. They were tailing the Steve Irwin into Australian waters in support of illegal whaling activities and lurking outside of Fremantle, waiting for the departure of the Steve Irwin in order to provide security for whalers whose activities are in contempt of a 2008 ruling by the Australian Federal Court. That ruling prohibits vessels involved in whaling from entering Australian waters.
The Australian Coast Guard, Customs or Navy should have taken this opportunity to question the Shonan Maru #2’s captain and crew over the destruction of the Ady Gil and their continuing violation of the 2008 Federal Court hearing.
Instead the Attorney General was quick to wash her hands of the affair, believing whatever the Japanese wanted to tell her. In the end she decided that appeasing Tokyo was more important than bothering with something trivial– like evidence.
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