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Orion locates Nuclear Waste ships

06 March 2001 Media Statement

Orion locates Nuclear Waste ships

An Air Force surveillance flight has confirmed that a nuclear waste shipment passing through the Tasman Sea has remained in International waters, the Minister of Defence Mark Burton announced today.

The Pacific Pintail is carrying 230 kilograms of plutonium fuel. Accompanied by its escort ship Pacific Teal, it is sailing from Europe to Japan.

"The New Zealand Government has been monitoring the progress of the shipment and this morning a RNZAF Orion was sent to locate the vessels," Mark Burton said.

"The crew identified and filmed the Pacific Pintail and Pacific Teal. They were located about 30 miles south of a small protest flotilla of New Zealand and Australian yachts that has formed a symbolic chain between Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands.

"Photographs and video footage were also taken of the yachts and the Greenpeace vessel "The Rainbow Warrior", which has arrived in the area.

"The Pacific Pintail and Pacific Teal have remained well outside the New Zealand 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone.

"While that is reassuring, New Zealand remains strongly opposed to shipments of nuclear waste through the Tasman Sea," Mark Burton said.


Photographs taken by the Orion crew may be available this evening from Wing Commander John Seward ++6444 496-0299

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