Forest Rescue activists Geoffrey Tuxworth, Simon Peterffy, and Glen Pendlebury have just exited the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone still on board the Japanese whaling vessel the Shonan Maru Number 2. The men are now in international waters headed due south towards the coast of Antarctica.
The Shonan Maru Number 2 crossed the line at 1915 Western Australia time at 38 degrees 12 minutes south and 115 degrees 02 minutes east, due south of the Southwest tip of Australia. The Shonan Maru Number 2 is sixteen miles astern of the Steve Irwin and both ships are heading South towards the coast of Antarctica, 1200 miles away.
'It appears that the Japanese have clearly abducted three Australian citizens from the territorial waters of Australia inside the twenty-four nautical mile contiguous zone. These men were removed from Australian waters against their will without Australian Customs and Immigration clearance and they do not have passports,' said Captain Paul Watson.
'I can’t imagine three Japanese boarding an Australian vessel sixteen miles off of Japan and being transported to Australia against their will and the Japanese tolerating this. Japan now knows they have been given a green light by Australia to escalate their aggressive tactics.'
Australia’s contiguous zone is adjacent to its territorial sea, extending 24 nautical miles from its territorial sea baseline. In this zone, Australia may exercise the control necessary to prevent or punish infringements of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations. It plainly states that Australia decides who can enter and leave Australia.
Japan has no authority to remove Australian citizens from this zone without permission of the Australian government.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society website