The Government should strongly censure Japan after one of its
whaling vessels entered New Zealand's waters, the Green Party
The Shonan Maru No. 2, which provides security for the
Japanese whaling fleet, entered New Zealand's 200 nautical
mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on Friday.
Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd said the Japanese ship had
been tailing its protest vessel, the Steve Irwin, after a
recent clash in which two ships collided. The Sea Shepherd
vessel docked in Dunedin to refuel early this morning.
Foreign Minister Murray McCully said it was disappointing the
Japanese vessel had entered New Zealand's EEZ (Exclusive
"The Japanese Government is well aware of New Zealand's
opposition to whaling in the Southern Ocean and our strong
preference that ships from its whaling fleet do not enter our
"While the Japanese vessel has a right to pass through our
EEZ, it is disappointing a request not to do so was ignored."
Mr McCully said he did not expect the vessel to enter New
Zealand's territorial waters, which extend 12 nautical miles
from the coast.
Green Party oceans spokesman Gareth Hughes said it was
"offensive" that Japanese whalers were in New Zealand waters.
He called on the Government to lodge a formal diplomatic
"Murray McCully needs to do more than just express
disappointment; he needs to send a strong diplomatic message
to Japan that their whaling vessels are not welcome in New
The Steve Irwin's captain, Siddarth Chakravarty, said the
Japanese ship was making a mockery of New Zealand's request
to stay out of the EEZ.
"We urge Minister McCully to uphold New Zealand's strong
stance against the Japanese whaling fleet's operations and
demand that the whaling security vessel leaves New Zealand
The New Zealand-based spokesman for Japan's Institute of
Cetacean Research, Glenn Inwood, said vessels had a right to
enter other countries' waters.
He said Japanese vessels had respected the request to remain
outside New Zealand's waters before the Sea Shepherd group's
However, the Japanese needed to defend themselves to ensure
the safety of their crew and vessels.
"In light of Sea Shepherd's continuing violence on the high
seas, including deliberate acts of ramming, it's important
that the Japanese monitor the group's vessels and their
Mr Inwood said it was unfortunate the Sea Shepherd group was
allowed to refuel and resupply its vessels in New Zealand and
Australia. If its ships were refused entry, then Japanese
vessels were unlikely to need to enter either country's EEZ.
Once the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin finishes refuelling
in Dunedin, it will head back out to the Southern Ocean to
rejoin the anti-whaling protest.
Meanwhile, Sea Shepherd claims the Japanese harpoon ship
Yushin Maru No. 3 briefly entered the Australian whale
sanctuary near Macquarie Island, within Australia's EEZ,
while tailing the protest ship Bob Barker last night.
If confirmed, the half-hour incursion could be in breach of a
2008 Australian court injunction that declared Japan's
whaling operation to be in violation of Australian law, the