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Sea Shepherd helicopter pilot, Chris Aultman, has been granted a visa to enter Australia, Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.


“I thank Immigration Minister Chris Bowen for his swift response to my request as to why two Sea Shepherd crew members were denied visas to enter Australia. Sea Shepherd’s Chris Aultman and Tim Pierce, helicopter pilot and mechanic respectively, had both successfully applied before for visas to Australia. Mr Pierce is expected to be able to also join his colleague in Australia,” Senator Brown said.


“The Japanese Government is sending a patrol boat from its Fisheries Agency to ‘strengthen the protection’ of whaling ships as they illegally hunt whales in Australia’s territorial waters. Japan has also taken tens of millions of dollars out of tsunami relief funds to help finance the whale killing fleet heading to Antarctica.


“I have serious concerns that the presence of the patrol boat may escalate tensions when Sea Shepherd tries to protect the whales the Japanese ships are slaughtering.


“The Australian Government must have a plan in place to ensure safety as the Sea Shepherd fleet prepares to leave Australian ports to defend hundreds of whales from Japanese whaling ships,” Senator Brown said.