Spokesman Nick Maling said the New Zealand Air Force was in the area to film the whalers' tactics so they could release the footage to the public.Surely the Orions have better uses to be put to than this, but given the highly politicised nature of the whaling issue in New Zealand, perhaps no one sees this for the waste of resources that it is (Nick Maling has the rather dull videos up at YouTube).
Mr Maling said the Southern Ocean was "vast and very dangerous" and the Government did not want to be connected to such activities.There may be some very minor domestic political backlash over this, but it's a darn sight better than smearing one's own name in the international community.
So, just another two weeks now before Sea Shepherd is officially operating not one, but two pirate vessels. Also just two weeks left before they have to go and get fuel from somewhere, as well.
This month, the Robert Hunter joined Mr Watson's slower flagship, Farley Mowat, which is sailing without a national flag after authorities in Belize deregistered the ship, citing a Sea Shepherd press release saying it planned to inflict damage on whaling ships.
Soon after, the Japanese Government asked Britain to move against the Robert Hunter.
A British Foreign Office spokesman told The Age that Japan's embassy asked Britain to "control" the Robert Hunter's activities as far as was legally possible, as Sea Shepherd had said it was aiming to disrupt Japanese whaling operations.
The spokesman said the office informed the British Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen of the approach.
Registrar David Wright said the Robert Hunter was registered as a pleasure vessel and her activities with Sea Shepherd were inconsistent.
"The registrar therefore took the decision to remove her from the register," Mr Wright said. He gave Sea Shepherd 30 days' notice from January 12.
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