Chris Aultman has been granted an Australian visa after initially being denied entry.
08 December 2011
Sea Shepherd helicopter pilot granted Australian visa
It has been reported by the Australian Greens Leader, Bob Brown, that Chris Aultman has now been granted an Australian visa after initially being denied entry to join Sea Shepherd in their efforts to protest the Japanese whaling fleet.
Chris Aultman is a helicopter pilot and former US Marine, and was initially denied entry to Australia to aid Sea Shepherd in their efforts to locate and protest against a Japanese whaling fleet.
However, after pressure by Sea Shepherd and other groups, Australia Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has responded to the case and Aultman has now been granted an Australian visa. This was confirmed by Senator Bob Brown, the leader of Australia's Green Party, who made the following comments:
"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."
"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.
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy London.