Sea Shepherd docks in Wellington

SIOBHAN DOWNES
Last updated 13:51 22/03/2014

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The captain of Sea Shepherd's Bob Barker has slammed the New Zealand Government for its inaction on whaling over the past season.

The anti-whaling vessel docked in Wellington this morning after spending 90 days in the Southern Ocean chasing Japanese whalers from the designated whale sanctuary.

Japanese whalers had a kill quota of 935 minke whales, 50 fin and 50 humpback whales, but Sea Shepherd was confident their campaign had led to more than 750 whales saved, Bob Barker captain Peter Hammarstedt told a press conference today.

"Although the Japanese whaling industry has not yet released the number of whales that they have killed this year, we are absolutely confident that the whaling fleet has not reached even a quarter of their bogus, self-allocated quota," he said.

This season's campaign - the longest in its 10-year history - had been particularly aggressive, and the Bob Barker was rammed three times by the Japanese whaling fleet, Hammarstedt said.

He pointed out damage to his ship from one of the collisions.

"That collision is testament to the fact these whalers are thugs and common criminals," he said.

"It's also testament to the inaction of the Australian Government and the New Zealand Government to stop whaling, and the Sea Shepherd will continue to fill that law enforcement void... until we finally shut down whaling in the Southern Ocean."

Sea Shepherd New Zealand national co-ordinator Michael Lawry said the whalers had been "deeply offensive to the people of New Zealand" by coming into our economic zone.

He called for the Government to police Japanese whaling as they do illegal fishing in the Ross Sea.

The Bob Barker will spend the next 10 days in Wellington, where the public will be able to tour the ship.

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- The Dominion Post

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