The Pursued are Now Once Again - the Pursuers
The Japanese are again in pursuit of the Steve Irwin but this time they are far behind the Sea Shepherd crew and unable to relay our position to the main body of whale poachers with the Japanese whaling fleet.
The Japanese whaling fleet security ship does not know where the Steve Irwin is, but thanks to a group of dedicated whale defenders from Tasmania calling themselves the "Taz Patrol," we know where the Japanese ship is.
The Shonan Maru No. 2 has been replaced with one of the harpoon vessels from the Yushin class. We suspect that the Shonan Maru No. 2 may have had to return to the fleet to refuel. We know they were running low on fuel from the distance they traveled and how high they were riding out of the water when last we saw them.
Our sources in Tasmania also reported that two planes had been chartered to search for the Steve Irwin but had returned unsuccessful.
Posted on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/taz_patrol
"YM 1,2 or 3 was found over 12 hours ago at 47'48'' S, 146' 33''E.. SM2 location unknown........"
Our plan to ride a storm through the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) worked perfectly. Unable to be spotted from the air and shielded by high winds and heavy seas, we cruised just out of radar range of the waiting Japanese vessel(s), slipped past them, and headed south.
If one of the Yushin Maru harpoon vessels is two hundred miles south of Tasmania, it means they are definitely not harpooning whales. In their efforts to intercept our approach the whaling fleet is being forced to direct their harpoon vessels into acting as bodyguards and scout vessels.
The Ady Gil ran short of fresh water two days ago but the resourceful crew simply captured a large growler and melted it. Fresh clear and clean water is in plentiful supply in the Southern Ocean. The Ady Gil continues their patrol in search of the Japanese whaling fleet.
The pieces in this strategic board game are coming together. The Steve Irwin and the Ady Gil are trying to find the whaling fleet and the harpoon vessels are trying to find the Sea Shepherd ships. All of this is being played out in a vast expanse of ocean larger than Europe or the United States.
"The name of the game is profit and loss," said Captain Paul Watson. "To win this war for the whales we need to make sure to keep their losses high and their profits low. For three years they have failed to turn a profit because we have prevented them from taking their full kill quota. I am pleased that this year that not only will we impact the quota, we will see a large increase in their costs for deploying two ships dedicated to thwarting our plans. Our intention is to bankrupt these whale killing thugs. This is the language their tattooed Yakuza bosses understand"
The Steve Irwin continues to ride the storm clouds southward in search of the Nisshin Maru and her bloody gang of harpooners.
Thank-you Taz Patrol
The Yushin Maru was found lurking on the Australian 200 mile limit thanks to six people on a small motor vessel touring the South Pacific.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is very grateful for the assistance and the success of the Taz Patrol in locating the Japanese harpoon vessel.
"Knowing that we have slipped by the Japanese security forces and that they are now far to the North of us has given us reason to relax for the first time in days," said Captain Paul Watson.
The Sea Shepherd Society does not know who these six people are but once again it is obvious that concerned citizens are stepping up to the plate to take on the responsibilities that governments are neglecting to enforce.
Below are some of the twitter posts from the Taz Patrol.
Twitter posts (note dates and times), the first post they made is at the bottom:
# Whilst Yushin Maru class harpoon is up here it isn't whaling. Well done SI for diverting the ships! Is SM2 scared to face us without backup? about 11 hours ago from web
# How many vessels are searching for the SI? Seen one harpoon vessel of Yushin Maru class. How many others up here trying to track the SI? about 11 hours ago from web
# YM 1,2 or 3 was found over 12 hours ago at 47'48'' S, 146' 33''E.. SM2 location unknown. It's Possible SM2 scared and called reinforcements. about 11 hours ago from web
# Whaling vessel found! Nearly 300nm south Tasmania. NOT Shonan Maru 2 visual shows superstructure is one of Yushin Maru class (1, 2 or 3) about 11 hours ago from web
# Still intend to investigate radar contact. Conditions + heading + speed of target mean a few hours before visual contact possible. 5:13 PM Jan 1st from web
# Steve Irwin claims to be out of the danger area. We wish the crew of the Steve Irwin luck in finding the whaling fleet scum. 5:09 PM Jan 1st from web
# Radar Contact!!! As yet unknown vessel 3:17 PM Jan 1st from web
# Conditions been difficult recently. One large wave hit side on. The old girl is handling amazingly well. We continue our search. 11:34 AM Jan 1st from web
# Steve Irwin has left port. It is now urgent we locate SM2.Increased speed to cover more area. This reduces our range but time is limited. 12:15 PM Dec 31st, 2009 from web
# Happy New Year to everyone except the whalers. To those scum: head's up, we're coming for ya. 7:18 AM Dec 31st, 2009 from web
# Our last update of 2009. Our New Year resolution is simple: we will not back down. We did not come all this way to run away. 3:16 AM Dec 31st, 2009 from web
# Search continuing. So far no ships spotted. Should any boat wish to help we can provide details of areas already searched. 5:13 PM Dec 30th, 2009 from web
# Reached EEZ limit. Starting search for whaling security vessel. 9:17 AM Dec 30th, 2009 from web
# We are at sea heading for the edge of the EEZ. Hoping to tag on to the Shonan Maru 2 and relay her co-ordinates. 4:23 PM Dec 29th, 2009 from web