The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Steve Irwin now has the entire Japanese whaling fleet on the run.
At 2345 G.M.T. the Steve Irwin intercepted the Japanese harpoon vessel Yushin Maru #2 inside the Australian Antarctic Economic Exclusion Zone at 64?26 South and 132? 40' East.
The encounter took place in dense fog and in dangerous ice conditions. The Steve Irwin launched a Delta boat with a crew to attack the Yushin Maru #2 with rotten butter bombs. Unfortunately the wind increased to fifty knots with blizzard conditions. Captain Paul Watson called the small boat crew back for safety reasons when they were halfway to their target some three miles away.
The Yushin Maru #2 then headed due North to lead the Steve Irwin away from the whaling fleet. The decoy did not work. The Steve Irwin is now in pursuit of the whaling fleet.
They have ceased whaling operations and they are now running from the Sea Shepherd crew.
The Yushin Maru #2 was the same vessel that the Steve Irwin crew boarded in January 2007. This year the crew observed that the Yushin Maru #2 has set up large netting to be run along the side of the ship to prevent boarding parties from going over the side. When the whalers realized that the Steve Irwin was onto them, they immediately ran on deck to deploy the netting.
"It looks like Whale Wars, season #2 is officially underway," said Captain Paul Watson. "We've got them on the run. They are not in the Ross Sea where they said they would be. They are in Australian waters. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is officially calling on Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith to order the Japanese fleet to comply with the orders of the Australian Federal Court and to cease and desist from killing to whales in Australian waters."
Japanese harpoon whaling vessel the Yushin Maru No. 2
sails through a snowstorm in Antarctica's Southern Ocean
Photo by Adam Lau/Sea Shepherd
Crew members aboard the Japanese harpoon whaling vessel the
Yushin Maru No. 2 prepare to deploy a net speculated to act as a
deterrent to potential boarders from Sea Shepherd's
M/V Steve Irwin Photo by Adam Lau/Sea Shepherd