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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Hana Blog 6. English, 6th March 2012

A News Flash from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary


11:30pm 5th of March: After two and a half long and challenging months of scouring the vast Southern Ocean, we have finally been rewarded with the jackpot. Just before dusk, the faint silhouettes of the 3 Yushin harpoon ships and the ultimate prize, the factory ship NISSHIN MARU, were spotted drifting on the horizon. Immediately, the alarm bells for action stations were sounded throughout the ship. The Bob’s bow swung in the direction of the fleet and her engines roared to life. Caught unaware, the whalers went into panic mode. Both the NM and YM1 made a break for waters out of our radar range, whilst the YM2 and YM3 started steaming directly towards us and began a series of aggressive and dangerous maneuvers in front of our bow.

On the bridge, our AWESOME new captain, Peter Hammarstedt, granted me permission to immediately radio the Yushin kill ships with a message in Japanese. I repeated the transmission 10-15 times with 2-3 minute intervals: “Yushin Maru, Yushin Maru, this is the Bob Barker. Please respond to my call. We are here to observe your illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone. Our operations are completely legal and we will report any further illegal activity you partake in to the Netherlands authorities. We order you to stop your dangerous actions towards our vessel and crew. Stop threatening our lives, stop killing the whales and immediately return to Japan.” There was no reply from either of the murderous ships.

I remained on the bridge for the first few hours of the confrontation and watched as danger after danger unfolded before us. Night set in and a pitch black fell over the ocean. Spotlights swung wildly from the upper monkey deck of our ship as we attempted to pick out icebergs and large chucks of frozen water known as growlers. These hazards alone have the potential to tear a hole in the side of our vessel. Heavy snow soon followed, further restricting our view and covering the decks in a blanket of slippery white powder. The atmosphere was intense. On several occasions the YM2 and YM3 closed within 20m of our ship and attempted to cross our bow trailing a 300m line designed to entangle and disable our propeller. On the main deck, the Bob Barker deployed flares in a desperate, last ditch attempt to ward off the approaching ships and avoid a potential collision. The actions performed by the Yushins under these conditions were so unbelievable I would label them as nothing short of pure insanity.

Thankfully, we made it through the night unscathed and today the chase of the Nisshin Maru continues. It feels good to know that as long as we keep these killers on the run, the whales that have migrated to the Southern Ocean aren’t being needlessly butchered under the false label of ‘research’.

You can watch the confrontation unfold on the Sea shepherd website.

The night attack of the Yushins – Sea Shepherd web site

Thank you once again to Michael Beasley for his assistance in translating this blog.

Sea Shepherd – Pirates of Compassion (with Japanese subtitles)

Sea Shepherd- For the Oceans (with Japanese subtitles)



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