Sea Shepherd’s Steve Irwin Crew Return to the Battle
The Steve Irwin was able to slip into Hobart, Tasmania and out again within 60 hours. During that time, it took on a full load of fuel, provisions, and supplies and was able to service bridge electronics and communications gear.
The people of Hobart were, as they always are, exceptionally supportive and generous.
The Steve Irwin crew left Hobart at 1800 hours before the New Year’s festivities could begin. Time can’t be spared to party while whales are dying. There was not a single complaint from the international crew. Not a one was wishing they were anywhere else but onboard this ship heading back to intercept the Japanese whaling fleet.
The most positive outcome of the return to Australian waters is that the Japanese security vessel Shonan Maru No. 2 had to end their pursuit the moment the Steve Irwin re-entered the 200-mile economic zone.
The Japanese whaling ships are prohibited from passage through Australia territorial waters and are denied use of Australian port authorities.
When the Steve Irwin left Fremantle, the Japanese hired aircraft to scout out the position and relay the information to the Shonan Maru No. 2.
The crew of the Steve Irwin were surprised that the Japanese government have gone to such expensive lengths in dedicating two security vessels to guard their whaling fleet this season. It is certainly an indication that the interventions by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society are being taken seriously and that the five previous campaigns have cost the Japanese whaling industry their profits for the last three seasons.
Meanwhile, the Sea Shepherd ship Ady Gil is scouring the coast of Antarctica searching for the main body of the Japanese whaling fleet.
“We have seen the Japanese strategy for this year and now that we know that there are two dedicated security ships and that their intention is to track us to keep us away from the fleet, we can mount a counter strategy,” said Captain Paul Watson. “We will find this fleet of poachers and we will intervene and we will disrupt and shut down their operations.”
The Steve Irwin will be back in the remote and hostile waters of the Southern Ocean off the coast of Antarctica in 7 to 9 days.