Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has contributed humanitarian aid to the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in a rather ironic and indirect way. Due to the interventions of Sea Shepherd against the illegal Japanese whaling operations in the Southern Ocean, Sea Shepherd forced the retreat of the Japanese whaling fleet a month earlier than their whaling season was to end.
Due to the whalers' early retreat, the Japanese Nisshin Maru factory ship arrived in Tokyo Bay a month earlier than normal on March 21, 2011. Japanese authorities immediately commandeered the ship to deliver aid supplies to northern Japan.
The Nisshin Maru will be taking kerosene, charcoal, instant noodles, rice, and other supplies to the northern coastal communities hit hardest by the tsunami. Bringing aid and comfort to the victims of this disaster is a far more positive role for the Nisshin Maru than slaughtering whales in the Southern Ocean, which is where the fleet still would have been if not for Sea Shepherd shutting down their unlawful activities in mid-February.
Sea Shepherd believes that the Nisshin Maru should be permanently converted into a humanitarian aid vessel. Sea Shepherd is happy that in this small way, they were able to make it possible for the Nisshin Maru to bring aid supplies to the Japanese people whose lives have been so tragically interrupted by these recent disasters.