A New Zealand Airforce Orion reconnaissance plane flew overtop of the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin this morning at 1025 Hours (Melbourne time) (2325 G.M.T.) The location of the over flight was 116 Degrees 38 Minutes East and 63 Degrees 12 Minutes South.
2nd Officer Peter Hammarstedt radioed the plane to inquire if they had seen any Japanese whaling vessels. The plane replied that with a "negative" adding they were not looking for whaling vessels, they were patrolling for illegal fishing vessels.
Mr. Hammarstedt notified them that there was a Japanese fishing trawler tailing the Steve Irwin named the Fukuyoshi Maru No. 68. The New Zealand Airforce replied that they were aware of another vessel in the area but were not allowed to release the name of the vessel. The crew of the Orion did wish the crew of the Steve Irwin luck but made it clear that they were not involved in searching for any Japanese whaling vessels.
"Which begs the question," said Captain Paul Watson. "How can they intervene against illegal fishing operations yet they will do nothing about illegal whaling operations. It is also strange that they made no inquiries of a Japanese fishing vessel deep inside the Antarctic Treaty Zone."
The Steve Irwin is not concerned with publicly releasing coordinates since the Japanese ship trailing the Sea Shepherd vessel is keeping the Japanese fleet notified of the movements of the Steve Irwin.
"It would be nice to receive some support from Greenpeace right now," said Captain Watson. "We are close to the Japanese fleet and we are using a great deal of fuel in searching for the fleet. Maybe Greenpeace can claim some carbon credits with a little assistance. In return we can promise that our presence with the Japanese fleet will guarantee that whaling will not resume, although I suspect that Greenpeace needs the resumption of whaling to secure their impotent annual eco-heroics photo-op."
Sea Shepherd has been securing Japanese fleet coordinates through the backdoor from Greenpeace. Unfortunately this information is covert and delayed allowing the Japanese fleet to continue moving away as Sea Shepherd approaches.
"We all know who the Japanese are running from," said Hammarstedt. "And it isn't Greenpeace."