MILAVIA Forum - Military Aviation Discussion Forum

Author Topic: Japan might send Navy to counter anti-whaling plan  (Read 5299 times)

Offline Gripen

  • General of Flight
  • *******
  • Posts: 1390
  • Country: au
Japan might send Navy to counter anti-whaling plan
« on: December 18, 2007, 04:04:09 AM »
A defence expert has warned Japan could send its Navy to the Southern Ocean to shadow Australia's Navy if the Federal Government decides to use the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to monitor Japanese whaling.

The Federal Government is to announce within days how it will carry out its plans to check on Japan's whaling fleet.

The Government has not ruled out using the Australian Navy, but it is expected it will mainly use the civilian-crewed customs ship, the Oceanic Viking.

It is armed with two machine guns and and has a boarding party of specialist Customs officers.

The ship is specially-fitted out for the Southern Ocean and has sophisticated surveillance equipment that would be used to collect evidence for possible international challenges against the Japanese whaling.

Australian Institute for Strategic Policy (AISP) spokesman Mark Thomson says he expects Japan to lodge a complaint if Australia uses the Navy as the main way of monitoring the whale cull.

"The Japanese would probably protest through diplomatic channels," he said.

"They could send a vessel to monitor our vessel monitoring our whaling fleet and pretty soon, you're getting into a silly situation."

The Federal Opposition has been warning that sending a fully-armed Navy frigate would be unnecessarily provocative to a close ally.

Greenpeace says the use of the Oceanic Viking would be highly appropriate.

Steve Shallhorn, the chief executive officer of Greenpeace for Australia and the Pacific says the Oceanic Viking is suitable for the task.

"It has been built to operate in Antarctic waters where there's quite a bit of ice and it does have surveillance capabilities," he said.

"The important thing here is to gather evidence to use in international legal cases against Japan, rather than showing military muscle."

Other environmental groups are calling on the Federal Government to increase diplomatic pressure on Japan to end its whaling program.

The plan has been supported by several environmental groups, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

But IFAW campaigner Darren Kindleysides says the Government must also ensure that pressuring the Japanese Government to end whaling is the top priority in any bilateral talks.

"First and foremost our prime minister needs to pick up the phone to his counterpart in Japan and tell him, in no uncertain terms, to recall the fleet," he said.

Environmental groups are also promising to shadow the whaling fleet with their own ships.



AVIATION TOP 100 - click to vote for MILAVIA