Statement on whaling and safety at sea

The governments of Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States have issued a joint statement, urging the masters of whaling protest vessels and of Japanese whalers to observe the rules on safety at sea. The four countries call on all those involved to make the safety of human life at sea their highest priority.

Japan claims that it harvests whales for scientific purposes. Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States strongly oppose whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, which was established by the International Whaling Commission.

Japan’s whaling fleet left for the Southern Ocean last week; protest vessels were expected to depart from ports in New Zealand shortly afterwards. Two anti-whaling vessels, the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker, are registered in the Netherlands and sail under the Dutch flag.