The three vessels the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) operates in the frozen waters of the Antarctic have been searching for the factory ship of the Japanese whaling fleet for more than 26 days, and their insistence paid off. The ship was spotted today at 1800 hours AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time).
The pursuit covered more than 4,000 miles in less than a month, and involved the Steve Irwin, the Bob Barker, the Gojira, a small helicopter and a joint crew of 88 members on the part of Sea Shepherd.
The conservationists' fleet had discovered two of the three whaling ships before they had a chance to start killing whales, but the other whaler and the Nisshin Maru factory ship could not be located.
Deceivingly, the Japanese started using the whalers that were made out to track the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker, radioing ahead to the other two vessels about the SSCS' ships locations. This is what allowed those vessels to evade capture for so long.
However, Sea Shepherd managed to intercept the Sun Laurel, the oil tanker that was sent to the Antarctic to resupply the Japanese fleet. But the organization did not allow the large vessel higher than the 60 degree latitude line, invoking the Antarctic Treaty.
The document states that no large vessel is allowed to resupply with heavy fuel above the 60 degree latitude line. SSCS vessels escorted the Sun Laurel to its correct location, and then instituted a blockade to ensure that the Japanese vessels do not get any fuel.
After this was accomplished, the Gojira was sent to port, to repair some damage it sustained during the campaign, while the Steve Irwin was sent to search for the Nisshin Maru. It finally managed to find it today.
“We finally have this serial killing death ship where we want them, and from here on in, we intend to ride their [expletive] until the end of the whaling season. This whaling fleet belongs to us now – lock, stock, and smoking harpoon gun,” said SSCS leader, Captain Paul Watson.
The Bob Barker has been called to join the other SSCS vessel in pursuing the factory ship, after having driven the Sun Laurel near the coasts of Chile. The second ship is now some 300 miles away from the Steve Irwin.
“Unfortunately, the Japanese whaling fleet appears to have just begun their illegal whaling operations. There is a whale presently being butchered on the deck. Sea Shepherd’s objective now is to make sure that whale is the last one taken this season,” a new SSCS press release states.
“We are well on our way to economically sinking this whaling fleet. We will now chase them through the frozen gates of hell if need be, but we will stop their illegal whaling operations. […] I am confident of that!” Watson concludes.