Whaling protest flagship to call

The flagship of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is heading to Dunedin to refuel before rejoining the fight against Japanese whaling in the Antarctic.

Steve Irwin is due to arrive in Dunedin at 5.30pm tomorrow and depart the following day at 4pm.

The vessel's propeller was temporarily entangled with ropes following a clash with Japanese whaling vessels last week.

The visit would be the second Dunedin visit by a Sea Shepherd vessel in a week, following the arrival of Sam Simon on Monday.

That vessel left the city on Tuesday bound for the Ross Sea where the whaling confrontation had been heating up.

A Sea Shepherd spokesman confirmed Steve Irwin, named after the late Australian wildlife advocate, would be visiting Dunedin for fuel and supplies before ''heading back to the Southern Ocean as quickly as possible''.

''They will be in and out pretty quickly,'' the spokesman said.

This week Foreign Minister Murray McCully reiterated the New Zealand Government's strong opposition to Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean.

''However we also oppose any activities that put lives or vessels at risk.''

Glenn Inwood, a spokesman for Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research, declined to comment on the visit.


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