Position: 63 Degrees 43 Minutes South 81 Degrees 26 Minutes East
The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin joined the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker this morning at 0700 Hours (Sydney time). Both Sea Shepherd ships are now on the tail of the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru.
The Japanese fleet was running fast to the Northeast not knowing that the Steve Irwin was on a course of Southwest coming directly for them. With the fleet doing 15 knots, and the Steve Irwin doing 15 knots, the Steve Irwin and the whaling fleet closed the gap at 30 knots cutting the rendezvous time in half.
The Steve Irwin sat motionless by an iceberg for two hours at a distance of thirty miles to allow the Nisshin Maru to continue towards it. At a distance of only three miles, the Steve Irwin got underway and intercepted the Nisshin Maru.
As the Steve Irwin passed by the Nisshin Maru, the factory ship turned on their water cannons and were surprised when the Steve Irwin responded with a more powerful water cannon that had a couple of the whalers diving for the bridge doors as the frigid water struck their bridge wing deck.
The Steve Irwin is presently tailing the Nisshin Maru a few cable lengths and slightly to the port side of the factory ship. Across from the Steve Irwin, the Bob Barker is tailing the Nisshin Maru slightly to the starboard side.
Following in the wake of the Nisshin Maru are the Japanese vessels Shonan Maru 2, Yushin Maru 1 and Yushin Maru 2. There is no sign of the Yushin Maru 3.
Six ships, two from Sea Shepherd and four vessels from the Japanese fleet, are heading at full speed northeastwardly.
"Not a single whale has died since the Bob Barker intercepted the fleet at 0100 Hours on February 6th. It is now the third day that the whaling fleet has been unable to kill a whale. We intend to turn these three whaling free days into three whaling free weeks," said Captain Paul Watson. "I am confident that once again we will severely cut their kill quotas and we will once again negate their profits."
The Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker have enough fuel to pursue the whaling fleet for another month.
"It does not matter where they go, east or west along the Antarctic Coast," said Steve Irwin 1st Officer Locky MacLean. "We intend to stick to their rear like glue and we will not allow a single whale to be loaded onto the decks of that foul floating abattoir."
There are 41 crew (29 men and 12 women) on board the Steve Irwin from Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Estonia, France, Japan, Hungary, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States (15 nationalities).
There are 30 (6 women and 24 men) crew on board the Bob Barker from Australia, New Zealand, United States, Sweden, United Kingdom, and South Africa (6 nationalities).
photos credit: Glenn Lockitch / Sea Shepherd