The Australian Government has received confirmation that a Japanese whaling support vessel, the Shonan Maru No 2, has entered the country’s exclusive economic zone near Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean.
The Government strongly objects to whaling vessels passing through Australian territorial seas or the exclusive economic zone.
Australia has made it clear to Japan on a number of occasions that vessels associated with its whaling program are not welcome in Australia's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) or Territorial Sea.
The vessel is a non-whaling support ship which forms part of the fleet accompanying whaling vessels.
The Australian Embassy in Tokyo has conveyed these sentiments directly to the Japanese government.
Japan reportedly hunts whales annually as part of its scientific research program. Although commercial whaling has been banned for 25 years, Japan catches about 1,000 per year. According to BBC News, Australia is already taking legal action against the whaling in an international court.
Conservation group Sea Shepherd, which follows the fleet south each year, has been ordered by a U.S. court to stay at least 500 yards from Japanese whaling vessels. However, the activists strongly question the ruling and continue to track the fleet.