The nautical chess pieces continue to move and the board keeps changing in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
The Shonan Maru #2 is no longer chasing the Steve Irwin. The security vessel has been replaced by the harpoon vessel Yushin Maru #2. It is assumed that the Shonan Maru #2 will now head west towards the Australian customs vessel Ocean Protector to turn over the three Australian prisoners onboard. With the Yushin Maru #2 now following the Steve Irwin, and the Yushin Maru #3 still at Macquarie Island, the Nisshin Maru now has only one harpoon vessel left - the Yushin Maru.
Sea Shepherd has temporarily lost drone contact with the Nisshin Maru and cannot guarantee that whaling has not begun. If so, it will proceed with two of the three harpoon vessels not involved in killing operations. “If we had one more ship, there would be no possibility of any whales dying,” said Captain Paul Watson. “In July I met with Greenpeace representatives at the IWC and requested of them that they send one ship to support us. I told them that one more ship would shut down this entire fleet. They refused, and that is deeply disappointing, and as a result whales may die.”
Sea Shepherd is working to secure a third large, fast, ice-strengthened vessel to return next season. The Sea Shepherd fast scout vessel Brigitte Bardot remains in Fremantle undergoing repairs from damage caused by the extreme weather conditions of the Southern Ocean.
“We have demonstrated that we can shut these poachers down and every year we become more effective than the year before. One more ship will give us the ability to throw a blanket of intervention over them that will completely extinguish their illegal operations,” said Captain Paul Watson.
The dropping away of the Shonan Maru #2 removes the possibility of the transfer of the three Forest Rescue men to the Steve Irwin. The transfer of the men to the Steve Irwin would have saved the Australian government hundreds of thousands of dollars. Meanwhile despite being ordered out of the territorial waters of Australia’s MacQuarie Island, the Yushin Maru #3 continues to illegally remain inside the twelve mile territorial limit.
“The Japanese whalers act like they own the entire Southern Ocean,” said Bob Barker Captain Alex Cornelissen of the Netherlands. “They go where they want, when they want, and do what they want, with complete contempt for Australian sovereignty.”
Operation Divine Wind
site for information about our
2011-12 Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign