Three Australian anti-whaling activists illegally board a Japanese whaling fleet security vessel.
The ship was sailing off the coast of Western Australia when the three members of the Forest Rescue environmental group carried a message aboard reading, "Return us to shore and then remove yourself from our waters."
The men were detained after boarding the ship.
The founder of the anti-whaling Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which gave the Forest Rescue activists assistance in their boarding attempt, questioned how the ship could detain the protesters.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) PAUL WATSON, FOUNDER AND LEADER OF THE SEA SHEPHERD SOCIETY SAYING:
"Well it's not much of a security ship. I think they are quite humiliated by the fact that this is the second time that this so-called security ship has been boarded. So I think they are more acting out of embarrassment than anything else. The fact is that that vessel had no business there. Last week Kevin Rudd himself said that it had come into Fremantle or any Australian Port it would have been arrested. So how is a vessel that is subject to arrest in an Australian Port, allowed to take Australian citizens prisoner only 16 miles off the coast of Australia."
Australia's Attorney-General said the three men are subject to Japanese law since they were detained outside of Australian territorial waters, and could potentially be taken to Japan to face charges.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN ATTORNEY GENERAL, NICOLA ROXON SAYING:
"We will pursue action that's within the law and we will take careful and considered action. This a time for cool heads not for macho chest beating."
Members of Forest Rescue staged a protest outside the Japanese Consulate in Perth calling for the release of the activists.
Last season Japan cut short its annual whale hunt with less than a fifth of their quota in response to Sea Shepherd activism.
Nick Rowlands, Reuters.