Could the whale wars be over? Things are looking very good in that direction! The whalers may be close to capitulation.
It is December 1st, at least on the Japanese and Australian side of the International Date Line, but the Japanese whaling fleet remains in port.
For years I have said that Sea Shepherd goes down to the Southern Ocean stronger than the year before, and the Japanese ships go down weaker. They may be weaker than we thought. They may be ready to call it quits. The illegal Japanese whaling fleet may be on the brink of surrendering, at least for this year.
Never before has the Japanese whaling fleet left later than November 19th. That was more than 10 days ago, which means they will certainly not be able to begin whaling around December 20th as they do every year.
If the fleet left today they would not begin whaling until January, and this delay will certainly see no whales killed during the month of December.
Apparently one of the primary reasons for them not departing is that their supply ship the Hiyo Maru No.2 (formally the Oriental Bluebird), has been sold by its owner the Daito Trading Company to China to be scrapped. Although this happened in August, the Institute for Cetacean Research has been unable to charter a replacement. The reason is that they are finding it difficult to find a ship owner willing to be associated with their brutal and illegal whaling operation in the Southern Ocean--and willing to be targeted by the Sea Shepherd fleet.
"I think the Japanese P.R. strategy of labeling Sea Shepherd as a 'violent eco-terrorist' organization has backfired," said Captain Paul Watson, "They have scared the companies they do business with and they are frightening their own crews. They are now paying higher insurance premiums and making less money. We have taken their profits from them for five years. Now we need to take this despicable enterprise away from them and make sure they stay out of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary."
The three Sea Shepherd Ships, Steve Irwin, Bob Barker, and Gojira are ready to head to the Southern Ocean - the only thing missing down there are the whalers!
Is this the beginning of the end for illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean?
We can only hope so.