Environmental Navy Puts Japan’s Whale-Killing Fleet on the Run

January 28th, 2011 - by admin

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society & Captain Paul Watson – 2011-01-28 23:48:16


Sea Shepherd Successfully Finds the Nisshin Maru
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Position: 70 Degrees 45 Minutes South
171 Degrees 45 Minutes West
Vessels Involved: Japanese whalers —
Nisshin Maru, Yushin Maru No. 1 and Yushin Maru No. 2

EN ROUTE ABOARD THE STEVE IRWIN (January 25, 2011) — After a 26-day pursuit covering over 4,000 miles, the Steve Irwin caught up with the Nisshin Maru at 1800 hours on January 25th, 2011 AEST.

“We finally have this serial killing death ship where we want them, and from here on in, we intend to ride their ass until the end of the whaling season,” said Captain Paul Watson from onboard the Steve Irwin. “This whaling fleet belongs to us now — lock, stock, and smoking harpoon gun.”

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ships the Steve Irwin, Bob Barker, and Gojira originally found the Japanese whaling fleet on December 31st, 2010 before the whalers had an opportunity to kill a single whale.

Unfortunately, two of the harpoon vessels blocked the approach to the Nisshin Maru and the factory ship was able to flee with the faster harpoon vessels tailing the two larger Sea Shepherd ships to relay Sea Shepherd movements to the fleeing Nisshin Maru. The Gojira was prevented from immediately pursuing the Nisshin Maru due to risky ice conditions.

The Gojira shot ahead of the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker as the Nisshin Maru fled westward. On January 10th, the Gojira encountered the refueling and supply ship the Sun Laurel. On January 12th, the Bob Barker and the Steve Irwin caught up with the tanker and began to tail the Korean-owned vessel allowing the Gojira to continue westward in pursuit of the Nisshin Maru.

The Sun Laurel headed north and east to put as much distance between the factory ship and themselves as they could. The Sea Shepherd ships followed knowing it was essential to cut off the supplies to the whaling fleet. Two of the three harpoon vessels followed and for 23 days we had confirmation that these two vessels had not taken a single whale.

With the Sun Laurel heading east and getting closer to Chile than New Zealand, Captain Watson seized an opportunity to break away and lose the tail, doing so on January 18th. The Bob Barker continued to follow the Sun Laurel with one harpoon vessel continuing to follow the Bob Barker. The other harpoon vessel, having lost the Steve Irwin, left to rejoin the Nisshin Maru.

The Gojira was following the progress of the Nisshin Maru by launching weather balloons equipped with remote cameras and radar detectors. Unfortunately, the Gojira developed a problem with their fuel pumps and Captain Locky MacLean elected to return to Hobart to replace the pumps. This decision was kept confidential in order to keep the Nisshin Maru on the run until the Steve Irwin could close in.

On January 23rd, Captain Watson made a risky decision to call off the Bob Barker from continuing the pursuit of the Sun Laurel. His concern was that the Nisshin Maru with two harpoon vessels could begin whaling operations in the Ross Sea within days.

The Bob Barker was instructed to head due south as a decoy to lead the Yushin Maru along while the Steve Irwin entered the Ross Sea.

And today after a 26-day pursuit, the Nisshin Maru has finally been caught and the Steve Irwin is on its tail. The Bob Barker some 300 miles away has been instructed to join 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.

The whaling fleet has been caught in an ice bay in the Ross Sea and is fleeing eastward into thick ice. The Steve Irwin intends to follow.

There is no doubt that this season will be a financial disaster for the Japanese whaling fleet.

“We are well on our way to economically sinking this whaling fleet,” said Captain Watson. “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!”

Hunting the Hunters Through Ice and Storms
Report from Captain Paul Watson

(January 28, 2011) — It is difficult to describe the sea, weather conditions, and the obstacles we face each day while in our pursuit of the Japanese whaling fleet. The vastness of this Southern Ocean is awesome. The unpredictability of the weather is a constant surprise, and the ice, well, the ice is even more unpredictable than the weather.

This morning we found ourselves surrounded by large floes where the ice charts say there are no floes to be found. Miles away, the Bob Barker was also encumbered by the barrier of ice. And once again, the Nisshin Maru is on the loose. Not whaling, but out of our sight, and once again we renew our efforts to hunt it down. Fortunately the Gojira will be back in place within a few days, and it will be free to search for the whalers as a scout ship without a tail.

The Steve Irwin must return to land for fuel. We have delayed longer than we should have, and being jammed into ice is no comfort with fuel reserves running low. We still have the Yushin Maru No. 2 on our stern.

The Bob Barker also has a tail, which keeps us from approaching the Nisshin Maru because these tails simply relay our coordinates ahead allowing the factory ship to stay out of our way.

The Nancy Burnet helicopter gives us an advantage, but only when it can fly. Weather conditions prevent us from flying for over 50 percent of the time. All and all, it is a formidable challenge, but so far this season has been an incredible success.

After a month in pursuit of the whaling fleet, we have kept the factory ship on the run for over 4,000 miles. Most importantly we have kept two of three harpoon vessels out of whaling operations for 30 days. The third whaling vessel has been kept out of whaling operations for at least 50 percent of these 30 days while running, and working without its assigned spotting vessels, going back and forth to relieve each other, wasting hundreds of miles every time.

We estimate we have cut operations for this month by 75 percent, and possibly more. We have two more months to go.

With the Gojira back in action, the scouting for the Nisshin Maru will continue and once re-located, the Bob Barker will move to approach it. Meanwhile, the Steve Irwin will refuel and return with fresh supplies for all three vessels, and by mid February, all three Sea Shepherd ships will be on the chase until the end of the whaling season.

If we had just one more ship down here, the third harpoon vessel could be kept entirely out of action. But we have to deal with the situation and the resources we do have, and we are doing that to the best of our ability.

To escape from us, the Nisshin Maru made some desperate and dangerous movements through thick ice. We could not follow it without sustaining serious damage to our ship, and so we continue to run after them, biting at their heels, moving them along, knowing they are looking over their shoulders constantly to see if a black ship is bearing down on them.

The hunters have become the hunted, and our hunt for these whale killers will continue until the poachers point their bows north to Japan and return with their meager, gory, and unprofitable cargo.

Posted in accordance with Section 107, Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.