Japan’s factory whaling ship, the Nisshin Maru, continues to run in shame from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s vessel, the Bob Barker. Both ships are currently south of Chile's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),in international waters declared a sanctuary—where whaling is prohibited. As the vessels move closer to the Chilean EEZ, members of the Chilean government and public are growing increasingly upset. Over the years, Chile has proven to be a staunch ally to the whales, and some government officials seem to be hoping for the opportunity to enforce Chile’s laws against the illegal slaughter and trafficking of whale flesh.
For weeks, the Japanese whaling fleet’s murderous harpoons have been silenced due to Sea Shepherd’s interventions against its whaling operations, and the whales may soon have tangible, direct action support from Chile as well. What more could Sea Shepherd—or the whales—ask for?
Captain of the Bob Barker Alex Cornelissen, and Sea Shepherd’s Director of Legal Affairs Kim McCoy, are in direct communication with officers of the Chilean maritime authorities, and Sea Shepherd has provided photographic evidence of the Nisshin Maru’s current position and continues to provide regular updates to Chilean officials. All involved wait to see where the Nisshin Maru will go next, and what action the Chilean government will undertake if the Nisshin Maru dares to enter the Chilean EEZ.
Sea Shepherd has also been informed by a reliable source that the Cancilleria (the Chilean government’s foreign affairs body) is holding special meetings to discuss this specific issue, and that Chile’s government intends to take action if the Nisshin Maru enters its EEZ.
Chile is clearly willing to help the whales and show the world that it maintains its strong position against the illegal whaling activities perpetrated by whaling fleets. If only all southern hemisphere nations would do the same.
However this turns out, two things are certain: 1 - By all accounts thus far, the government of Chile seems determined to enforce applicable conservation laws, and 2 - Sea Shepherd is honored to assist the Chilean authorities and will continue to work closely with governments like Chile to defend, conserve, and protect marine wildlife.
Importantly, Chile is not the only South American country to take a strong stand against illegal whaling. This past Monday, many member nations of the International Whaling Commission urged Japan to stop its so-called scientific whaling in Antarctic waters and to respect sanctuaries for the species. Among them were Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay, all of which are also members of the anti-whaling Group of Buenos Aires (GBA). GBA nations stand united and reaffirm their commitment to whale conservation, maintaining a moratorium on whaling-related trade, and respecting the integrity of internationally recognized whale sanctuaries.
Sea Shepherd is proud of these countries, and very proud to have established the basis of cooperative conservation work with the Chilean authorities.
Sea Shepherd now calls upon the governments of Australia and New Zealand to take note of this precedent set by Chile—and to demonstrate the same willingness to enforce conservation laws in their own waters.