According to the Institute for Bogus Cetacean Research of Japan, the Yushin Maru #2 has been repaired and is heading back to rejoin the whaling fleet. According to Greenpeace the Yushin Maru #2 is heading back to Japan.
According to Indonesian authorities and Jakarta Animal Aid, the whaler was ordered to leave Indonesian waters before being repaired. According to the Japanese Embassy in Indonesia, the repairs were made the day before the ship was ordered to leave.
Femke Den Haas of Jakarta Animal Aid reported that the Yushin Maru #2 was never dry-docked in Surabaya. They arrived in Surabaya on January 5th. The spare part they were waiting for (either a new prop or a part to the prop) was delivered on January 15th. They were ordered to depart on January 16th.
We therefore know the ship was not dry-docked and it would have taken three to four days to dry-dock the vessel to make repairs. For the Japanese to say that the ship is now repaired requires two possibilities. The first is that the prop was changed while the ship was in the water. This is more difficult but not impossible. It would be especially difficult to do within 24 hours. The 2nd possibility is that the ship made arrangements in another port that we do not know about.
If the Japanese report is correct that the ship has been repaired and is returning to the fleet then it will take about two weeks to reach the other whaling vessels. This will mean that the harpoon vessel will have been knocked out of the hunt for two months. This will have a major impact on the overall quota.
The fact that Indonesian authorities ordered the whaling ship out of Indonesian waters is a major political victory for the anti-whaling movement. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Steve Irwin will reach the whaling fleet at least a week before the Yushin Maru #2.
The answer to the question of where is the Yushin Maru #2 is that we don't quite know. What we do know for certain is that it will not be killing whales for at least two more weeks. The Greenpeace report that it is headed back to Japan can be discounted. Greenpeace was calling the office of Jakarta Animal Aid to get information. They then issued a media release saying the whaler had rudder damage and was heading back to Japan. They are certainly in error on the first count and most likely in error on the second.
Not having a ship in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary this year means that Greenpeace is scrambling to appear that they are involved in some way so as to justify the millions of dollars they have raised over the last year to oppose whaling.
The Yushin Maru #2 was seen and reported transiting the Lombok Strait heading south a few days ago which would put the vessel off the Northwest coast of Australia. If this report is accurate, the ship is indeed heading back to the fleet and the Japanese statement to this effect is accurate. The crew of the Steve Irwin will be looking out for the Yushin Maru #2 in two weeks.
"Hopefully they will give us the opportunity to chase them into the ice again," said Captain Paul Watson.