Sea Shepherd Repels Assaults from the Yushin Maru No. 2 and the Yushin Maru No. 3
At 1330 hours (AEST), Sea Shepherd’s vessel the Gojira came up behind the Steve Irwin to receive a transfer of supplies. Seeing the fast interceptor vessel sitting dead in the water, the Yushin Maru No. 2 picked up its speed and began approaching her rapidly at a very high speed of 19 knots.
Anticipating that the whalers might attack a stationary Gojira, the Steve Irwin readied a Delta boat. Upon orders from Captain Paul Watson, the Delta crew set out to turn the approaching whaler away. The Delta crew headed towards the harpooner at full speed getting ready to deploy a prop fouler. This caused the whaling vessel to make an abrupt turn to port. The Delta pursued the fleeing Yushin Maru No. 2 for 11 miles delivering a dozen stink bombs onto the deck of the whaler before returning back to the Steve Irwin.
Meanwhile, pilot Chris Aultman had landed his helicopter on the Bob Barker some 75 miles to the south along the ice edge of the Ross Sea. The Yushin Maru No. 2 made a move to push through the ice to approach the Bob Barker with the objective of turning their water cannon onto the helicopter. Aultman was able to get his helicopter airborne before the harpooner closed in. The Bob Barker then turned to confront the whaler, causing the whaler to turn and flee back through the ice.
It has been one week since the whaling fleet was discovered. Two of the harpoon vessels have been under constant observation and have not killed any whales. The Nisshin Maru and one other harpoon vessel the Yushin Maru No. 1 have
fled for over 1,200 miles since the discovery of the fleet on December 31st. It is doubtful they have had time to slow down to catch any whales.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is confident the Japanese fleet can be kept on the run and on the defensive for the entire whaling season which ends in mid to late March.