6 Mar 2010

Australian police board anti-whaling ships

6:52 pm on 6 March 2010

The police in Australia have boarded two anti-whaling protest ships in Tasmania, following an official request for a search warrant from Japan.

The ABC reports the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin docked in Hobart on Saturday after a season of clashes with the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.

The news agency, AAP, reports that police also boarded the Bob Barker at Princes Wharf in the city.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society leader Paul Watson says log books, videos, photographs, charts, GPS recordings and copies of the computer hard drives have been seized by the police.

Cpt Watson criticised the Australian government for not investigating a clash between its vessel, the Ady Gil, and a Japanese whaling boat in January, that led to Ady Gil being damaged and abandoned at sea.

Green Party senator Bob Brown says the Japanese are using the federal police for political purposes.

"It's just totally outrageous that Tokyo, using Australian police personnel has raided the ship carrying these anti-whaling heroes back into port in Hobart," he said.

The police also boarded the Steve Irwin at the end of an anti-whaling campaign last year.