Landing party near target

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 September, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 September, 1996, 12:00am

At 1.15 am today, we were within six miles of the islands. We had crossed into the 12-nautical-mile exclusion zone late last night after more than three days at sea.

Earlier in the day, the tanker had been shadowed by a helicopter and four warships. The helicopter was apparently making a video recording. From 7 pm, a naval ship kept a continuous watch.

Early yesterday, the Japanese coast guard finally came within sight - four ships were seen about two nautical miles away.

As we approach the islands the weather turned very bad, with waves of up to 10 metres. Protesters donned life jackets and prepared to swim in the 'Chinese waters'.