Sea Shepherd Picks Up a Japanese Tail En Route to Antarctica
From the Steve Irwin at 1330 Melbourne, Australia time, (1830 PST) December 10th, 2009
Three days into the voyage of the Steve Irwin and the Sea Shepherd crew have picked up a Japanese tail.
One of the harpoon vessels was waiting outside the Australian 200 mile limit to pick up the departing Steve Irwin. Earlier in the morning an unidentified aircraft circled the Steve Irwin. Captain Paul Watson is assuming that this aircraft relayed the position of the Steve Irwin to the harpoon vessel.
At 1300 hours at a position 240 miles south of Albany in Western Australia, the crew of the Steve Irwin spotted a white vessel tailing in their wake at a distance of eight miles. Captain Paul Watson ordered a “Crazy Ivan” and the Steve Irwin did a 180 degree turn to head directly at the trailing vessel. The target responded by changing course due North. The Steve Irwin then changed course due South. The target followed with a course change to the South. The Steve Irwin then changed course to the West and the target followed suit. Another course change to South by Southeast put the target directly on the tail of the Steve Irwin again. The Japanese are keeping eight miles to the stern of the Steve Irwin.
“It looks like we have an escort to Antarctica,” said Captain Watson.
The outline of the ship is that of a Japanese whaler and the color white matches only the Shonan Maru No. 2. The three other Japanese harpoon vessels are grey in color. Captain Paul Watson is convinced that the tailing ship is the Shonan Maru No. 2.
Sea Shepherd believes there is a security force accompanying the fleet this year. This force or part of it is most likely on the Shonan Maru No. 2.
The Sea Shepherd crew has prepared the ship to repel any boarding attempts by the Japanese security forces if they should attempt an assault.
“This is costing the Japanese government a lot of money and the more they spend to protect their illegal activities, the more we will like it,” said Captain Watson. “Our objective is to bankrupt them.”