The Steve Irwin spent two days in Commonwealth Bay departing in the first hour of December 21st to continue the pursuit of the Japanese whaling fleet.
During the stop off the Adelie Coast, the Captain and crew of the Steve Irwin were given a letter of support from the French Research base of Dumont d'Urville. The French government strongly condemns illegal Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
The crew also paid a visit to the Australian scientists and conservationists at Mawson's Hut at Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay.
The Sea Shepherd crew provided divers to the scientists to retrieve scientific instruments in five meters of water at Cape Denison.
When one of the Australians at the Mawson's Hut base radioed the Japanese vessel to inquire what they were doing in Australian Antarctic Territorial waters, the Captain of the Shonan Maru No. 2 replied by saying, "Japan does not recognize the Australian Antarctic Territorial claim."
The Steve Irwin crew had a strategic reason for the two-day anchorage at Commonwealth Bay and are now focused on losing the tail of the Japanese security ship and locating the Japanese whaling fleet.
"It is clear to me that the Japanese whalers are not welcome in these waters by the scientists and personal of the research stations and base camps on the Antarctic continent," said Captain Paul Watson. "While the signatory nations of the Antarctic Treaty work to preserve and protect this magnificent continent and it's waters, only the nation of Japan is involved in illegal commercial exploitation of endangered whales."
Captain Watson is also concerned that the situation in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary does not bode well for the recent conference on climate change in Copenhagen, asking, "If the signatory nations of the Antarctic Treaty and the International Whaling Commission cannot stop the illegal killing of endangered whales in an established whale sanctuary in violation of the Treaty and the IWC regulations, how are they ever going to get real on the bigger issue of climate change?"