Monday, February 15, 2010

NZ skipper faces prison in Japan for protests in Antarctic waters..

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 24:  Ben O'Dea...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

NZ skipper could face prison in Japan for protests that occurred in Antarctic waters...

A spokesman for the Japanese whalers who have detained a New Zealander in Antarctic waters say he could go to prison when the ship he boarded returns to Japan.

Pete Bethune boarded the Shonan Maru 2 which collided with his protest boat Ady Gil last month.

After boarding the Japanese whaling ship in darkness Mr Buthune approached the bridge of the ship he claims sent his vessel to the bottom of Antarctic waters.

He was there to make a citizens arrest and to hand the captain a bill for US$3 million.

He then entered the bridge – the last time we're likely to see Mr Buthune for months.

The next time we're likely to hear from him is when he's taken to Japan, where the Government reacted swiftly overnight.

“The incident was regretful,” said Japanese state secretary for foreign affairs Tetsuro Fukuyama.

“We have not yet clarified his intention. Once we confirm this fact and the nationality of the ship he belongs to, we will post a strong protest and will take appropriate action.”

Mr Bethune's boarding of the ship comes after the incident last month when the Shonan Maru 2 collided with, and subsequently sunk, the Ady Gil.

The New Zealand Government confirmed this morning that high level talks between the two countries are underway.

“He's held under Japanese law, so we sent the New Zealand High Commissioner in Toyko yesterday to see the authorities,” says John Key.

“We're talking to them about what happens next. That's unknown at this time.”

But anti-whaling activists are calling for immediate action.

“I find it absolutely outrageous that New Zealand would allow this to happen,” says Paul Watson.

“It hasn't been since world war two that the Japanese would take a prisoner back to Japan.”

A spokesman for the government-sponsored Japanese whalers says that's exactly where Mr Bethune is heading – and claims prison could await him when the ship docks in about eight weeks.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments: