Prime Minister Julia Gillard should contact the Japanese Prime Minister to secure the release of three Australians being detained aboard a Japanese whaling vessel, Greens marine spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert told a media conference in Perth today.
The protesters from Forest Rescue Australia are being held off the coast of Bunbury aboard the Shonan Maru 2.
"The protesters have acted as a direct result of our own Government’s failure to take the necessary steps to end illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean. They believed there was no alternative than to board the vessel overnight to prevent it continuing it’s mission," said Senator Siewert.
"This vessel's sole mission is to make it easier for the Japanese fleet to slaughter whales. It is doing this by sending intelligence information back to the fleet.
"Like so many Australians, they find the presence of whaling support vessels in our waters as insulting and inflammatory.
"The Prime Minister should take immediate action to prevent any escalation of tensions around this standoff. It would be unacceptable for the protesters to be held captive on board as the ship returns to Japan or the Southern Ocean.
"The Shonan Maru 2 should be ordered into port so the protesters can be released and should then head directly back to Japan," Senator Siewert concluded.