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Anti-whaling ship gets ready to leave Tas

AAP logoAAP 3/12/2016

Conservation group Sea Shepherd is about to leave Australian waters for the Antarctic Ocean on its latest mission to stop Japanese whaling.

Its new custom-designed ship, Ocean Warrior, docked in Hobart on Friday night after leaving Melbourne the day before.

The $12 million vessel and its 15-person crew are finalising preparations in Hobart this weekend before sailing into the Southern Ocean for its 11th campaign to stop Antarctic whaling.

Ocean Warrior will be joined by the group's flagship vessel Steve Irwin.

Japan began its whale hunting season in the Antarctic Ocean in November, with the season expected to run until March.

It is the second season of its so-called "scientific purpose" whaling program since an International Court of Justice in 2014 ruled Japan's whaling did not constitute scientific research.

Tasmanian Greens Senator Peter Whilsh-Wilson wants the Australian government to send a ship to the Southern Ocean to help Sea Shepherd monitor whaling activity.

"Actions speak louder than words," he said in a statement.

"I'm hopeful that our new environment minister will show some backbone and real commitment and send the strongest possible message to Japan that the Australian people and parliament find whaling unacceptable."

On the last parliamentary sitting day of 2016, the Senate passed Senator Whilsh-Wilson's motion condemning illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean.

He says the federal government's silence on the issue was a "green light" to Japan to keep whaling.

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