After chasing the Japanese whaling fleet for over 2,000 miles the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Steve Irwin must return to port for fuel.
Although the ship is as close to Puntarenas, Chile as it is to Hobart, Tasmania and even closer to Dunedin, New Zealand, Captain Paul Watson has decided that the ship will return to Australia.
"Peter Garrett made the decision for us really," said Captain Paul Watson. "When asked how he would respond to a Japanese request to bar the Steve Irwin from Australia he answered that the government would take the request into consideration. The fact that he would even consider such a request from pirate whalers was enough for us to challenge him on this."
The government of Kevin Rudd was elected on the promise that they would take an aggressive stand on whaling. They have done very little other than pay lip service to this issue. The government is not reflecting the concerns and the passions of the Australian people and appears disinterested in actually protecting endangered whales.
"It's time to put the government to the test," said Captain Watson. "Will the government refuse entry to a ship bearing Steve Irwin's name and carrying a crew of fifteen Australian citizens returning from a successful mission to defend whales?"
The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin has not committed a single crime nor caused a single injury.
"Japanese whalers are barred from entry into Australian ports because they are criminals," said Steve Irwin quartermaster Jeff Hansen of Perth, Western Australia. "The Japanese whalers are killing endangered whales in an established whale sanctuary in contempt of an Australian Federal Court Order. How can my government entertain any such request from these poachers? That's like having bank-robbers calling up the mayor to demand that the cops not be allowed to return to the police station. Mr. Garrett represents me and the Australian people - not the Japanese whalers and he should remember that."
"It must be embarrassing to our government that we are out here doing what they only talk about, that we are actually saving whales while they play their diplomatic games with the Japanese. What is there to consider? We are Australians fighting for the whales and we have not hurt anyone nor damaged any property so how in hell can he be against us for that?" asked Benjamin Potts from Byron Bay, New South Wales.
The Steve Irwin is expected to arrive in Hobart around the middle of January.