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Anti-whaling Sea Shepherd crew detained in South Africa
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Saturday, January 28, 2006

After seven weeks in the Southern Ocean disrupting the Japanese whaling fleet, a Canadian registered anti-whaling ship, the Farley Mowat, has been detained by South African authorities.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel, its captain Paul Watson, and his crew, have been detained indefinitely. The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) have placed a guard on the gangplank and are patrolling the ship.

The Farley Mowat, which sailed from Melbourne, Australia on December 6, was detained in Cape Town harbour, following a request from the Canadian government. A SAMSA official said the ship did not have the required certification.

“They don’t have the right certificates for the skipper, the first-mate or the chief engineer,” an official said. According to SAMSA, the detention adheres to Canadian maritime laws and followed correspondence from Canada, who requested that the authorities check the ship.

According to Scoop Independent, the ship and crew have been detained due to the International Maritime Organization’s ISPS Code. Under Canadian maritime law, both the captain and first officer should be Canadian nationals. Captain Paul Watson is Canadian, First Officer Alex Cornelissen is Dutch.

SAMSA claims that the Farley Mowat was not in possession of an international ship security certificate or a ship security plan.

This means the ship allegedly does not comply with the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) – a comprehensive set of measures to enhance the security of ships and port facilities. The code was developed in response to the perceived maritime threats to ships and port facilities in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

The official said the detention was in line with Canadian maritime laws and followed correspondence from Canada requesting the authorities check the ship.

However, Captain Paul Watson says political pressure from Japan is behind the detention of the boat. He says he does not have the necessary documentation required by officials as the boat is registered as a yacht and not a commercial vessel.

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Anti-whaling Sea Shepherd crew detained in South Africa
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