Anti-whaling Protesters Refuel Vessel in Australia

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This is the Steve Irwin returning from its pursuit of a Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.

On board are members of the wildlife conservation society group Sea Shepherd.

The ship was back in port dropping off crew members of the Ady Gil, which sunk after colliding with a Japanese vessel.

After refueling and making minor repairs to the helicopter, the Steve Irwin will head back into the Southern Ocean to chase the whalers.

[Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd Captain]:
"We were not expecting to come in this early; we'll be going out for another six weeks so that is the good part when we will be able to get more fuel."

The campaign this year has reached a boiling point. After days of skirmishes on the high seas a Japanese ship collided with the Ady Gil.

Sea Shepherd's lawyers in the U.S. are looking into the case.

[Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd Captain]:
"If I had rammed and sunk a Japanese whaling vessel down there, the Australian navy would be down there with a warrant for my arrest."

Another Sea Shepherd vessel is continuing to follow the whaling fleet.

Japan's government-backed whaling is aiming to harpoon up to almost a thousand minke (pron mink) whales and around fifty fin whales this year.

Both these species are classified as endangered.

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