New Zealand protests Japanese whaler violating maritime zone

WELLINGTON Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:08am EST

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WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand summoned Japan's ambassador on Monday to protest the entry of a Japanese whaling ship into its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), after clashes earlier between whalers and vessels from the Sea Shepherd conservationist group.

New Zealand had asked Japan last week to order its whalers to steer clear of its maritime zone after vessels from both sides had collided in international waters.

Regardless of the warning, one whaler, the Shonun Maru No. 2, breached New Zealand's EEZ, which ranges up to 200 nautical miles offshore, as it shadowed a protest vessel, the Steve Irwin, on its way to refuel at the southern port of Dunedin.

"The New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo last week made it very clear we did not want members of the Japanese whaling fleet entering our EEZ," McCully said in a statement. "Today's meeting with the Ambassador served to further reiterate how deeply disrespectful the vessel's entry into our EEZ was."

McCully said New Zealand was strongly opposed to Japanese whaling in the southern oceans, and further action might be taken.

Japan's government spokesman defended the whaling ship's intrusion into the EEZ.

"We believe there was no problem with the movements of our ships from the point of view of international law," said Yoshihide Suga, Japan's chief cabinet secretary.

"This ship was taking protective moves and intruded on the EEZ as one part of that," he told a news conference.

Japan, which says that whaling is a cherished cultural tradition, hunts whales under a scientific research provision in the moratorium on whaling.

(Reporting by Gyles Beckford and Elaine Lies in TOKYO, editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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Comments (3)
EngSciEtc wrote:
International law dictates that New Zealand has no authority to deny passage to any vessel outside it’s territorial waters. The boat was not fishing in the EEZ so it doesn’t matter what type of expedition it was on, be it whaling, carrying nuclear missiles, or sending Justin Bieber to his homeland, as long as the only activity in the EEZ was passage.

Feb 10, 2014 9:15am EST  --  Report as abuse
yellowjap wrote:
Existing International law dictates that NO has no authority to deny passage to any vessel outside it’s territorial waters.
Still International law tend to change often by force also as territory. The question is whether NZ love to leave current Law preventing aggressive competition while those islands countries enjoy much compare to continental countries.
In these days liberal dreams in city went to far in dreaming. Actually, super market stop showing kids what they eat. In Japan, we had same problem, we found sliced tuna is swimming in water. You better stop growing these kids to be grown up without showing reality.
Actually from my eye Golf courses cause largest risk. Those risk flow into oceans. I thought farming finishing wild plants end up finding Golf was the worst, so I drop graduate school.
I finish. With great respect to Danish people for showing taken Lives should not be wasted. We are becoming decaying stage of Roman Empire, politician do whatever to entertain to buy votes.
That vote might entertain you. But political decision suppose to make better environment for children. Emotional behavior without learning, studying, and deciding could hurt your children quite badly.

Feb 10, 2014 10:45pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Davage wrote:
“International law dictates that New Zealand has no authority to deny passage to any vessel outside it’s territorial waters. The boat was not fishing in the EEZ so it doesn’t matter what type of expedition it was on, be it whaling, carrying nuclear missiles, or sending Justin Bieber to his homeland, as long as the only activity in the EEZ was passage.”

@EngSciEtc,

Agreed, EEZs are control of economic resources, all ships are allowed free passage via international law. That said, Wellington DOES have the right to protest to Tokyo – just not to board the ship, force it out of waters, etc.

For their part, Tokyo should take such protests seriously. Japan is facing an aggressive, imperialist, rising China, and it needs all the help it can get. Its whaling and dolphin hunting activities alienate (and often horrify) modern Western Democracies including the US, Australia, and NZ).

It might be politically difficult for Abe’s government (or whoever’s government follows his) to shut down such operations, but doing so would make it politically easer for Japan’s friends to come to its aid – a serious consideration!

Feb 11, 2014 10:33pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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