Whale Wars: Activists use drone to track whaling fleet
SEA SHEPHERD anti-whaling activists say they have intercepted a Japanese whaling fleet using a military-style drone.
A Sea Shepherd Conservation Society spokesman said they caught up with the fleet 1600 kilometres outside Antarctic waters yesterday.
Captain Paul Watson said it would be a long and arduous pursuit to the coast of Antarctica but by using the drone technology, distances could be covered more quickly.
”We now have an advantage we have never had before - eyes in the sky. We can cover hundreds of miles with these drones and they have proven to be valuable assets.”
The opposition has called on the government to seek an emergency injunction on Southern Ocean whaling.
The opposition spokesman for climate action, environment and heritage, Greg Hunt, said the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, had not sent a customs vessel to Australian territorial waters in the Antarctic to patrol against whaling and called on her to ”seek an urgent interim injunction to stop the Japanese whale hunt before it is too late”.
Mr Hunt predicted there would be ”tense and bloody encounters” between protesters and whalers.
Mr Hunt said the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea could rule on an injunction within a month.
”Due to the urgency of the situation, it is vital that this legal action be initiated no later than December 31 in order to have any hope of being effective,” he said.
Commercial whaling is banned under an international treaty, but Japan hunts whales for what it claims is scientific research.
The Environment Minister, Tony Burke, said Australia’s case against Japan to cease all forms of whaling in the Southern Ocean was currently in front of the International Court but would not provide details of proceedings.
But he lashed out at Mr Hunt’s call for an injunction labelling it a ”media stunt”.
”It is a bit much for the party who spent 12 years launching no action to suddenly act as the font of legal advice on this issue,” he said. ”The truth is, if legal proceedings had commenced when the Coalition had the chance, this issue would be well and truly resolved.”