The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ship Steve Irwin has driven the Japanese whaling fleet out of the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone.
"We have chased the whalers for over 800 miles since last Saturday through bad weather and heavy ice conditions," said Captain Paul Watson. "They have fled eastward and they are continuing eastward and we are on their tail and we will keep on their tail."
Since finding the Japanese whaling fleet on December 20th, the Steve Irwin has had close encounters with the harpoon vessel Yushin Maru #2 and the spotting vessel Kaiko Maru and has observed and tracked the Nisshin Maru from the air.
The Steve Irwin has not been able to close with the main body of the fleet because they keep moving eastward. They have not been whaling since Sea Shepherd located them and they are not whaling now. They continue to flee.
The good news is that they are no longer whaling in Australian waters and they only managed to hunt in the waters of the Australian Antarctic Territory for about a week before being forced to flee the Australian EEZ.
They are now in the waters of the Ross Dependency and the Steve Irwin is in pursuit.
"What is now good news for the whales in Australian waters is now bad news for the whales in the waters south of New Zealand," said Captain Watson. "They are still targeting endangered and protected whales in the waters of an established international whale sanctuary and thus they are still in violation of international conservation law and acting under the principles of the United Nations World Charter for Nature, we will continue to pursue, harass and intervene against their blatantly illegal lethal assaults on the whales."The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ship Steve Irwin has fuel and provisions to chase the whalers well into the middle of January before having to return to New Zealand to refuel. If forced to return to refuel, the Steve Irwin will do so and then will immediately return to the whaling area to continue to pursue, harass and intervene against illegal Japanese whaling activities."
The Steve Irwin has a crew of 40 international volunteers plus an Animal Planet film crew onboard producing the 2nd year of the series Whale Wars.
Last year the Sea Shepherd crew pursued the Japanese whaling fleet from early December until mid-March. That intervention cost the whalers over $70 million in lost profits and saved almost 500 whales.