Wake-up call for the world - Whales protection goes beyond IWC

Press release - 22 June, 2006
St Kitts arrest and court charges update: The ten activists and crew from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise arrested yesterday following a peaceful protest held after the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in St Kitts were released an hour ago and minor charges were handed down. Yesterdays peaceful protest was attempting to draw the world's attention to the estimated number of whales killed by Japanese whalers during the last whaling season in the so-called Southern Oceans Whale Sanctuary.

Greenpeace activists arrested in a protest the previous day are taken to the court house in Basseterre, Saint Kitts on 21 June 2006.

Mike Townsley, Greenpeace International spokesperson and a recentlyreleased arrestee had this to say "The amount in fines we were given isnothing compared to the priceless diversity lost each year by whalingand continued ocean destruction. The irony is the St Kitts Governmentis open to 'vote-buying' as they received US$ 5,359,094 from Japan asaid for their marine industry days after last years IWC meeting. It isno longer acceptable for nations of the world to hide behind the IWCand pay lip service to this once a year event. "

The peaceful protest was carried out by activists and crew from theGreenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise which had been barred from St Kittswaters when it arrived last weekend prior to the start of the IWCmeeting. Attempting to create a symbolic "whale graveyard" displayusing 863 cardboard whale tails to represent each of the whales killed,the protestors were stopped and arrested by the police. (1)

The IWC concluded with debate still raging, but a clear outcome wasGreenpeace vowing to continue protecting the worlds' whales outside ofdiscussion forums and asking global citizens to join it on theirjourney and become an 'ocean defender' and work together to stop theslaughter. www.oceans.greenpeace.org   "Greenpeace isdedicated to protecting whales and the environment they live in and wewill return to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary later this year.Greenpeace will continue to defend and stop the killing of as many ofthe 935 minke whales and ten fin whales which will be the target of theFisheries Agency of Japan's grenade tipped harpoons," concludedTownsley.

Greenpeace's campaign for an end to whaling is part of the mostambitious ship expedition ever undertaken by the environmental advocacyorganisation. The 14-month long "Defending our Oceans" expedition isexposing the key threats to our oceans and offering real solutions, aglobal network of properly enforced marine reserves covering 40 percentof the worlds oceans: places that will be protected from industrialexploitation and destruction, from industrial fishing and hunting, andplaces from which our oceans can begin the process of repair andrecovery.

VVPR info: Greenpeace International communications officer Suzette Jackson +31 6 4619 7324Greenpeace International Spokesperson Mike Townsley currently in St Kitts +31 621 296 918 Video and stills available fromGreenpeace International Video Desk +31 6 4619 7322Greenpeace International Photo Desk +31 6 5381 9255

Notes: (1) ARRESTEESARCTIC SUNRISE SHIP CREWDaniel Bravo MEXICOAna Paula Maciel BRAZILBarbara Vitoria BRAZILJoslei Leffa BRAZILVeronica Lameck BRAZILON SHORE, NORTH FRIGATE BAY, ST KITTSMike Townsley SCOTLANDBuffy Baumann USFrancisco Gil PORTUGALMilko Schvartzman ARGENTINASteffi Werner GERMANY