Glen Inwood, the official New Zealand spokesperson for the Japanese whaling says Greenpeace claims of a victory in the Southern Ocean are false. Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research says the fleet has simply moved to prevent injuries.
According to a New Zealand radio spokesperson, Glenn Inwood says the real trouble will begin when a ship from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society catches up with the whalers.
"That sounds about right," said Captain Paul Watson onboard the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Steve Irwin. "Greenpeace claims to have chased the Japanese whalers out of the whaling grounds yet the Japanese have never run from Greenpeace before. The truth is they are running from us. They have run from us every time we have engaged them in the past and they are running now. They were not looking at the Esperanza as they fled, they were looking beyond the horizon because they knew that the Steve Irwin was coming and they know we are not down here to take pictures and to hang banners. We are down here to stop these bloody butchers, these serial killers of whales and when we catch them we will give these poachers the thrashing they deserve."
The Steve Irwin has broken off the pursuit of the Nisshin Maru which is well out of the whaling area and is concentrating on pursuing the killer boats.
"If these big brave whaling men have any spirit of the Samurai left in them then I challenge them to turn and face us like men instead of like cowards," said Captain Watson. "They are all brave and bold when it comes to firing an explosive harpoon into the back of an innocent whale but they run like frightened children when they see our black ship coming."
The Sea Shepherd crew of 34 includes 16 Australian citizens. The Steve Irwin is approximately 2600 miles southwest of Fremantle in pursuit of three Japanese harpoon vessels.