Japanese whaling ship to dock in Hobart

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

A Japanese whaling ship, the Keiko Maru, will be docking in Hobart on December 24 to transfer a sick crew member to hospital. The crew member is suffering from appendicitis.

Greenpeace has called on the Australian government to prevent the ship from refuelling. The government stated it is opposed to commercial whaling, but that taking such action would be "counter-productive". Greenpeace CEO Steve Shallhorn said that it is an opportunity for Australia to demonstrate its opposition. "The Australian Government does have control over port authorities and we believe it does have the possibility to refuse to allow the ship to be refuelled," he said.

Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: Southern Ocean whaling season (2005-2006)

Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell supports the intention of Greenpeace activists, but believes that such a protest would not be helpful. "In some respects it can be counter-productive although I share the passion, I share their objective, we share of the objective of trying to stop whaling," he said.

Japan claims that its whaling activities in the Southern Ocean are for scientific purposes, and reject suggestions that the catch is commercial. "Anti-whaling proponents have tried to label the research catch as commercial whaling in disguise, but this is a tactic to discredit the research effort," says the Question and Answer section of the Japan Whaling Association website.