Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Media release

7 March 2008

Incident in the Southern Ocean - Update

Japanese officials have now advised the Australian Embassy in Tokyo that during the incident in the Southern Ocean this afternoon, three “warning balls” – also known as “flashbangs” – had been fired.

Japanese officials have advised that these devices are designed to make a loud noise but not to injure and that no gunshots had been fired.

I absolutely condemn actions by crew members of any vessel that cause injury – or have the potential to cause injury – to anyone on the high seas.

The Australian Government once again calls on all parties in the Southern Ocean – including all protest and whaling vessels, and their respective crews – to exercise restraint.

The Australian Government strongly discourages activity which could be illegal or unsafe activity which could lead to injury or loss of life at sea.

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