image: Australian Department of Defence
When the Australian Navy catches Indonesians poaching fish in Australian territorial waters, the crews are arrested and their boats burned to the waterline.
In 2003, the Navy pursued the Viarsa 1, which had been poaching patagonian toothfish, for over 7000km through international waters, before arresting the crew and escorting the seized fishing vessel to Australia.
The North Korean vessel Pong Su was seized by the Navy in 2003 after having been suspected in use as a heroin courier vessel. Though some non-DPRK Pong Su shiphands pleaded guilty to aiding heroin trafficking, most of the DPRK nationality Pong Su crew were exonerated in the landing of 125kg of heroin on Australian shores. Regardless, the Pong Su was used by the RAAF for target practise– two laser-guided, 2000lb bombs sent her to the bottom, approximately 140 kilometres off Jervis Bay.
Now, despite a ruling by the Federal Court that the Japanese Government’s poaching (and the Orwellianly-named Institute for Cetacean Research is operated by the Japanese Government) in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary and in the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone is illegal and despite two Sea Shepherd activists being kidnapped and unlawfully imprisoned after they boarded the Yushin Maru harpoon boat to try to deliver a message to the captain… the Australian Government have no plans to intercept the whalers!
There is clear precedent for the Australian Navy to pursue through international waters, seize and even destroy craft suspected of illegal uses in Australia’s waters- but the Australian Government is presently sitting on its collective hands, not wishing to offend the Japanese Government.
MORE: The ALP’s platform on Marine and Coastal Protection lists these items:
130. Labor will pursue a permanent end to all commercial and scientific whaling and the establishment of a global whale sanctuary.
131. Labor will pursue legal action against whaling nations before international courts and tribunals to end the slaughter of whales for all time.
132. Labor will pursue high seas, marine protected areas to protect biodiversity and work to address the increasing problem of unregulated, unreported and illegal fishing through all appropriate legal instruments.
Get with your programme, Kevvo.
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