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Activists Dragged Up Stern Ramp Of Whaling Ship

ACTIVISTS DRAGGED UP STERN RAMP OF JAPANESE WHALING SHIP

Auckland 13 January, 2000: Late last night (NZ time) two Greenpeace activists in an inflatable boat were dragged half way up the stern ramp of a Japanese whaling ship after they attached their boat to a tow-line being used to transfer a harpooned Minke whale from a catcher ship to the factory ship Nisshin-maru.

The crew on board the Nisshin-maru then used a long handled flensing knife - normally used for sectioning whales - to cut the inflatable boat from the tow rope, sending it shooting back down the stern ramp.

As the Nisshin-maru moved away at high speed in order to resume whaling, six activists (including Japanese activist Yasuhiro Ito) then jumped into sub-zero waters in front of the ship, which did not slow down or divert from its course. No-one was injured.

“For 24 days now our activists have been doing everything they can to force Japan to stop illegal whaling, doing the job that should be done by the governments of the world. Other countries must use the strongest diplomatic means to tell Japan they will not abide them continuing to trample international law,” John Bowler, Greenpeace campaigner onboard the MV Arctic Sunrise said.

“The Labour led government must follow the lead of Greenpeace in showing the strongest possible opposition to Japan’s illegal whaling programme” said Sarah Duthie, Greenpeace Ocean Ecology Campaigner. “The Labour policy stated a commitment to oppose Japans scientific whaling, yet we have seen no action, and the whaling fleet has continued their illegal actions in the Southern Ocean. Greenpeace is challenging the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, to immediately contact the Foreign Minister of Japan and make the strongest diplomatic protests.”

The two activists inside the inflatable attached to the tow- line were Deb McIntyre (Australia) and David de Jong (Netherlands). The six activists that jumped in front of the Nisshin Maru were Yasuhiro Ito (Japan), Zeger Zel (Netherlands), Frank Kamp (Netherlands), Deb McIntyre (Australia), Milko Schwartzman (Argentina) and Juame Espina (Spain).


STILLS AND PHOTOS AVAILABLE

For further info contact

MV Arctic Sunrise: John Bowler on +873 624 453 210 [satellite rates]
New Zealand: Sarah Duthie, Ocean Ecology Campaigner 09-630-6317, after hours 025-927-301

**LATEST ACTION UPDATES ARE ON THE WEB**

www.greenpeace.org/~oceans/whales/index.html

Notes to the editor

Japan’s Antarctic whaling programme is in violation of articles 65 and 120 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas, (UNCLOS – adopted in 1982) which requires all states to cooperate with the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in the matter of whale protection. Despite repeated annual requests from the IWC to cancel the program Japanese whalers began hunting in the Sanctuary last November and intend to kill 440 Minke whales this year (up from 389 last year).

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