The Australian plane will likely encounter vessels belonging to the activist group Sea Shepherd, which deployed their ships last week as part of their annual effort to fight whaling. While the group has sometimes been criticized for their risky behavior, former Captain Paul Watson said in a recent interview to CNN that the campaign in working. Australia's environment minister said that it won't condone dangerous behavior from the activists, though.
"It is important for Australia to have a monitoring presence in the Southern Ocean given the risk of confrontation between whalers and protesters," Hunt said. "While we respect the right to peaceful protest, Australia will not condone any dangerous, reckless or unlawful behaviour."
But other senators have pushed back against Hunt's decision not to send a ship, calling it a "weak attempt" to fulfill his election promise.