February 8th, 2007 - 1130 Hours (Pacific Coast Standard time)
February 9th, 2007 - 0830 Hours (Auckland N.Z. time)
The Sea Shepherd ships Farley Mowat and the Robert Hunter have been engaged in a confrontation with the Japanese whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru since 0530 Hours this morning.
When the Robert Hunter first approached the Nisshin Maru there were three hunter killer vessels with the mother ship. These vessels quickly fled northward. The Nisshin Maru fled east straight towards the Farley Mowat. At two miles from the Farley Mowat, the Nisshin Maru turned and fled back west again.
There was a pod of whales in the area near the whalers. The Sea Shepherd crew is happy to report that these whales fled and are now safe from the Japanese harpoons.
The Sea Shepherd crew has successfully delivered six liters of butyric acid onto the flensing deck of the Nisshin Maru. This "butter acid" is a nontoxic obnoxious smelling substance. The foul smell has cleared the flensing deck and stopped all work of cutting up whales.
Sea Shepherd crew in Zodiacs have nailed plates to the drain outlets (near the waterline) on the Nisshin Maru that spill the blood of the whales from the flensing deck into the sea. This is backing up the blood onto the flensing decks. The plates are secured by Hilt nail guns that drive steel nails through solid steel.
Sea Shepherd has relayed the coordinates to the Greenpeace vessel Esperanza. Despite Greenpeace's refusal to cooperate with the Sea Shepherd ships, the whales need every anti-whaling ship in the area. Greenpeace refuses to give Sea Shepherd their position so it is unknown how long it will take them to reach the area where the whaling fleet is operating.
Sea Shepherd was able to outmaneuver the Japanese satellite tracking system by taking the ships south of the Balleny Islands through heavy ice. Thirty years of ice navigation opposing the Canadian seal slaughter has proven quite helpful. The Japanese satellite surveillance program cannot track a ship's wake through the ice. "We came in the back door out of the freezer so to speak," said Captain Paul Watson.
The Sea Shepherd ships have been searching for the Japanese fleet for five weeks and have covered thousands of square miles of ocean.
The crew of both Sea Shepherd ships are relieved that the Japanese whaling fleet has been found and is now under pursuit and engaged in confrontation with the Robert Hunter and the Farley Mowat. They can now do what they do best - save whales!
Click here to learn more about Sea Shepherd's mission to save whales!