The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Steve Irwin has intercepted the Japanese whaling fleet.
Sea Shepherd has five vessels in sight.
Four vessels plus the supply vessel Oriental Bluebird were located on the Sixty Degree South line at 2415 Hours GMT. The Factory ship Nisshin Maru is about 400 miles to the northwest of the position of the rest of the fleet.
When located, the Oriental Bluebird had the catcher ship Kyo Maru alongside transferring supplies. The Yushin Maru has also been visually identified by name.
Upon spotting Sea Shepherd, the crews of both ships began running along the decks releasing the lines to get underway. The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin is in full visual pursuit of the entire Japanese whaling fleet minus the Nisshin Maru.
Sea Shepherd has notified the Greenpeace ship Esperanza of the coordinates of the Japanese fleet as promised although Greenpeace refuses to reciprocate with the coordinates of the Nisshin Maru. Sea Shepherd is releasing the coordinates of the fleet to the public at 60 Degrees 02 Minutes South and 77 Degrees 38 Minutes East.
Weather conditions are perfect. Calm seas with excellent visibility.
"We have them on the run," said Captain Paul Watson. "We will hound these poachers for as long as we can and when we catch up with them we will disable their equipment and do everything physically possible short of inflicting injury on the crew in order to stop their illegal activities."
Japanese whaling spokesperson Greg Inwood confirmed with New Zealand radio that the fleet has been running for days in fear of Sea Shepherd catching them
The Steve Irwin has a helicopter in the air and a fast boat approaching the whalers with the main vessel only seven miles to the rear of the fleet and closing. The small boat has a crew of four including three Australian and one American.
Sea Shepherd closes in on illegal Japanese harpoon ship
Yushin Maru No. 2