Operation Musashi - In the News
February 21, 2009 -- ABC News - Australia
Greens slam 'outrageous' raid on whaling ship
Greens Leader Bob Brown says a raid on the Sea Shepherd's anti-whaling ship by the Australian Federal Police was outrageous behaviour.
The Steve Irwin remains in Hobart after it was boarded by AFP officers late on Friday at the request of Japanese authorities.
The ship's captain Paul Watson says officers took hundreds of hours of video footage and a log book.
Senator Brown says he has written to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd asking for an explanation.
"It'll be one of the most unpopular decisions the Rudd Government has made so far," he said.
"Australians will be outraged by the appearance that the Australian police are doing the bidding of the Japanese whaling authorities." . . . more
February 11, 2009 -- The Mercury - Australia
Whaling war win claimed
THE Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin is returning to Hobart after withdrawing from its watch on Japan's whaling fleet.
It is hailing its protest operation a success, saying it located the Japanese whaling fleet earlier than in the past and physically prevented whalers from killing whales over 27 days.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said this meant many fewer whales were killed, more whaling profits lost and the whaling fleet would not meet its quota for the fourth consecutive year.
Captain Paul Watson said the ship planned to be back in Hobart by February 21. For next summer, the society would have a new ship as fast as the Japanese harpoon whalers and with a longer range.
This would be in addition to the Steve Irwin. . . . more
February 10, 2009 -- Canberra Times - Australia
Anti-whalers vow to return more forcefully
Anti-whaling activists have vowed to fight Japanese whalers with a bigger, faster and more powerful ship next hunting season.
Protesters from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have backed away from their intense clash with whaling vessels in the Southern Ocean, but say they'll return next year with a longer range ship.
Steve Irwin captain Paul Watson said after deciding to return to Australian shores yesterday, ''We need to block those deadly harpoons and we need to outrun these hunter killer ships and to do that I need a ship that is as fast as they are and I intend to get one and I intend to return next year.''
The decision ends a season of extreme clashes between whalers and protesters, with some saying confrontations were the most intense seen in the past five years. . . . more
February 10, 2009 -- Wildlife Extra - UK
Sea Shepherd leaves Antarctica
The Sea Shepherd ship the Steve Irwin and her crew have withdrawn from the Japanese whaling fleet to begin preparations to return with a faster and longer range ship.
"I have said always said that we would do everything we can short of hurting people to end illegal whaling in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary," said Captain Paul Watson. "We have done everything we could with the resources available to us this year. We have shut down their illegal operations for over a month in total. We have cost them money and we have saved the lives of a good many whales. And although we are willing to take the risks required, even to our own lives, I am not prepared to do to the Japanese whalers what they do to the whales. The escalating violence by the whalers will result in some serious injuries and possibly fatalities if this confrontation continues to escalate." . . . more
February 9, 2009 -- Los Angeles Times - USA
Whale war subsides as Sea Shepherd leaves Japanese fleet, heads home
It was fun while it lasted, wasn't it?
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's effort to harass and minimize Japan's whale hunt in the Antarctic has come to an end, as the activists have exhausted their fuel and drained their resources.
But it was an entertaining month-long, two-part episode. Tales of hurling rotten butter at the savage whale killers, if that's how you regard them. Blasting water cannons at the criminal eco-terrorists, if that's how you regard the activists.
There were vessel collisions, and the Japanese even lost a crewman overboard in a nonrelated incident.
Now Sea Shepherd's vessel, the Steve Irwin, is leaving antarctic waters and leaving the whalers to hunt minkes unopposed. . . . more
February 9, 2009 -- News24 - South Africa
Whale activists end showdown
Animal rights activists said on Monday they were ending their harassment of Japanese whalers in the Antarctic for the season, warning that a person could get killed if the confrontation escalated.
Japan has been stepping up international pressure to try to rein in the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which has vowed to physically stop the slaughter of the ocean giants.
Sea Shepherd said that its Steve Irwin ship, which engaged in a clash with the whalers last week, was heading back to Australia with only four days of fuel reserves left.
"Another four days is simply not worth getting someone killed," said Paul Watson, the Canadian captain of the ship.
"We have done everything we could with the resources available to us this year," he said in a statement.
"We have cost them money and we have saved the lives of a good many whales."
He vowed to return next season - and hoped to come with a faster ship to evade the whaling fleet.
. . . . more
February 6, 2009 -- Associated Press - wire service
Ships collide in Antarctic whaling clash
A group of radical anti-whaling activists said they were pelted with bloody chunks of whale meat and blubber after their boat collided Friday with a Japanese whaling vessel in a dramatic Antarctic Ocean clash Japan condemned as "unforgivable."
It was the second battle this week between the whalers and their foes. No one was injured, but the skirmishes mark the resumption of potentially life-threatening run-ins in a contentious fight that has become an annual fixture in the remote, icy and dangerous waters at the bottom of the world.
"The situation down here is getting very, very chaotic and very aggressive," activist Paul Watson, captain of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's vessel, told The Associated Press on Friday by satellite phone.
The clashes come as diplomatic efforts to resolve the controversy surrounding Japan's scientific whaling program appear to have stalled.
Japan — which has described the protesters as terrorists — plans to harvest up to 935 minke whales and 50 fin whales this season. Under International Whaling Commission rules, the mammals may be killed for research. Opponents say the Japanese research expeditions are simply a cover for commercial whaling, which was banned in 1986 . . . more
February 6, 2009 -- The Sydney Morning Herald - Australia online/print news
There she blows
JAPAN'S whaling fleet is said to have mounted a co-ordinated attack on Sea Shepherd anti-whaling activists, threatening to disable their ship in Antarctica's Ross Sea.
The Sea Shepherd leader, Paul Watson, said the 8000-tonne factory ship Nissin Maru repeatedly tried to ram his vessel Steve Irwin, and three harpoon boats trailed ropes to entangle its propeller.
In yesterday's five-hour conflict, Captain Watson said sonic devices were used against a Sea Shepherd helicopter forcing it to retreat, and resulting in the injury of an activist.
The response by the fleet came as the Japanese entered a fifth day under an increasingly tense pursuit by the Steve Irwin that was continuing last night.
On Monday, Sea Shepherd was forced to back off from an action in the face of the defences, and the activists failed in an attempt to entangle the propeller of the harpoon boat, Yushin Maru No.3, with a line flung in its path.
Captain Watson said when two fast inflatable boats were launched yesterday, the whaling ships turned on a full attack . . . more
February 3, 2009 -- The Japan Times - Japaneses online/print news
Protesters, whalers fight over use of illegal weapons
The hardline antiwhaling group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on Monday accused Japanese whalers of using illegal weapons systems to repel its vessel as it pursues the fleet in the Antarctic Ocean.
An official at the fishery agency in Tokyo immediately denied the allegation, saying the whaling ships are not equipped with any of the weapons alleged by the group.
The agency also said that crew on two rubber dinghies from the Steve Irwin, Sea Shepherd's flag vessel, threw bottles of dye at the whaling fleet in an apparent attempt to disrupt their activities.
The agency said nobody was injured in the incident and no damage was caused to the ships of the whaling fleet.
The U.S.-based antiwhaling organization said the whalers used a number of measures in their assault, with some Steve Irwin crew members sustaining injuries during the attacks.
"The whalers are deploying water cannons, concussion grenades, acoustic weapons and throwing solid brass and lead balls at Sea Shepherd crew members," the group's founder, Paul Watson, said.. . . more
February 2, 2009 -- Aljazeera - Qatar online/print news
Activists clash with Japan whalers
Two environmental activists have been injured in clashes with Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says.
The group said in a statement that one person was cut and bruised after being knocked over by a high pressure blast of water while the other was hit in the face by a metal object.
The activists were trailing the Japanese whaling vessels far southeast of Tasmania in inflatable boats launched from the group's flagship Steve Irwin.
Japanese authorities on Sunday admitted the fleet had turned hoses on the activists, who had hurled bottles of paint or rotten butter, but rejected claims that brass and lead balls were thrown at the protesters. . . . more
February 2, 2009 -- The Telegraph - UK online/print news
Japanese whalers accused of 'military-grade' weapons againt protesters
Japan's whaling authorities have denied claims by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society that whalers have used "military-grade" concussion grenades, acoustic weapons and solid brass and lead balls against the environmental group.
Two of the crew of the Steve Irwin have sustained injuries in the clashes in poor weather in Antarctic waters, according to Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd and captain of the ship. One campaigner was injured after being struck by a water cannon, the other hit in the face by a metal ball.
"Our research whaling fleet only used water cannons and did not use any other weapons," said Toshinori Uoya, a spokesman for the Far Seas Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Tokyo.
"The fleet did use water canons, but only to prevent them from approaching their own vessels in inflatable craft," he said. "They did not target the crew and only fired at the boats."
The agency's claims are in stark contrast to Sea Shepherd's reports of the clashes.
"It is a very dramatic scene out here as ships zig zag back and forth in thick ice and heavy swells," said Watson. "The whalers are deploying water cannons, concussion grenades, acoustic weapons, and throwing solid brass and lead balls at Sea Shepherd crewmembers. . . . more
February 1, 2009 -- Inquirer.net - Philippines online news
Japan's whalers ‘on the run' again
Japan's whaling fleet is once more on the run in Antarctic waters after being tracked down by ship-borne environmental activists, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said Sunday.
The group's ship the "Steve Irwin" found the whalers after searching through fog and rough weather for nearly a week after a break to refuel in the southern Australian port of Hobart, Captain Paul Watson said.
"We are seven miles from the fleet and approaching. We see the Nisshin Maru and two harpoon vessels the Yushin Maru 1 and the Yushin Maru 2," Watson said on the group's website.
"The Steve Irwin is now in close pursuit of the Japanese whaling fleet." . . . more
February 1, 2009 -- Voice of America - US online/broadcast news
Anti-Whaling Group Says it Has Located Japanese Fleet
The anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says its chase ship has located Japan's whaling fleet near Antarctica and is in pursuit.
In a statement Sunday, the U.S.-based group said that after a week of searching their vessel was 11 kilometers from the Japanese mothership Nisshin Maru and two harpoon vessels and was closing in on them.
Japan has called the Sea Shepherd activists "pirates" and "eco-terrorists" because of their use of aggressive tactics, such as boarding, stink bombs and collisions. But the activists say the whalers are the real "pirates" because their hunt violates international law. . . more
February 1, 2009 -- Reuters - wire service
Anti-whaling group says closing in on Japan fleet
A U.S.-based hardline anti-whaling group, seeking to disrupt Japanese whaling near Antarctica, said it had spotted the fleet and was closing in on it, raising the risk of a confrontation.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, blamed for collisions with the Japanese fleet in recent years, said three ships had been spotted, including two harpoon vessels, which appeared to be engaged in hunting whales amid loose ice, fog and 40-knot winds.
"We are seven miles from the fleet and approaching. We see the Nisshin Maru and two harpoon vessels the Yushin Maru 1 and the Yushin Maru 2," the group's founder Paul Watson said in a statement.
Sea Shepherd's Dutch-registered ship Steve Irwin returned to the Southern Ocean in late January after it was forced to head for Tasmania to refuel after several weeks at sea, pursuing the Japanese fleet.
"They appear to be whaling and are moving. As we approached closer they began to move full speed toward the open ocean. The Steve Irwin has engaged both engines and we are slowly closing the gap." . . more
January 27, 2009 -- The Los Angeles Times - US online/print news
Whale hunt update: IWC to consider easing ban to reduce Japan's annual kill
News item: The International Whaling Commission is considering easing its ban on commercial whaling to allow Japan to hunt whales off its coast — if Japan promises to kill fewer whales in the Antarctic.
Reaction: What the IWC ought to do is keep the ban in place and tighten the loophole that allows Japan to hunt whales in the Antarctic in the name of science, then turn and sell the whale meat commercially to a populace that is increasingly turned off by the product.
There are only three nations remaining with whaling industries: Norway, Iceland and Japan, whose industry is the largest, claiming up to 1,000 whales annually. Japan has essentially ignored a 1986 ban intended to protect intelligent mammals that for generations endured wide-scale slaughter, with many species hunted to the brink of extinction.
The U.S., thankfully, believes the ban should remain in place. Conservation groups do too. Said Capt. Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, of a proposed lifting of the ban: "It's sort of like saying to bank robbers that you can't rob a bank in the city, but we'll let you do it in the country."
The issue will be raised during the IWC's meeting in June.
. . . original article
January 22, 2009 -- Prensa Latina - Cuba online news
Australia Against Whales' Slaughter
Canberra, Jan 22 (Prensa Latina) Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, assured today he will keep on with the diplomatic pressures on Japan to try to compelthat country to abandon controversial whale-hunting in Antarctic waters.
In a press conference, Rudd pointed out that his government is involved in a diplomatic process to see if they can find a way to solve this matter.
The head of state stressed that the International Whaling Comission has planned half way through 2009 to check the quota given to Japan to capture these mammals.
Kevin Rudd ruled out the possibility of initiating legal actions to stop the whales’ slaughter in the waters of the frozen continent.
This way, Prime Minister responded the ecologist organization Sea Shepherd that the day before showed itself prepared to abandon its chase against the Japanese whaler fleet if Australia and New Zealand adopted legal measures against Japan.
The ecology group considers that those two countries should make use of a report published this week by the International Fund for Animals Welfare by virtue of which Canberra and Wellington have the authority to stop the polemical slaughter.
The text written by a group of Australian jurists, warned that the Antarctic Treaty forces to examine the impact on the environment of any activity carried out in those waters.
. . . original article
January 17, 2009 -- The Australian - Australia online news
Hundreds welcome Sea Shepherd to land
HUNDREDS of people have flocked to Hobart docks to welcome the anti-whaling vessel Steve Irwin, which is in port to refuel before heading back to the Southern Ocean to pursue the Japanese whalers.
Greens leader Bob Brown said there was an outpouring of support from local people when the vessel arrived on Saturday afternoon.
"Here in Hobart, it's Sea Shepherd city today," Senator Brown said.
"The support is just phenomenal, it seems like everybody's supporting them except the (Australian) Government."
Senator Brown welcomed the captain of the Steve Irwin, Paul Watson, to Australia and presented him with a box of apricots.
"Some fresh Tasmanian produce, I didn't want them getting scurvy," he said.
Some of the ship's crew have headed off to the Salamanca markets and shops to buy more fresh food, but Senator Brown said they were in good shape after weeks at sea.
"They're looking in very good nick, the whole lot of them."
The Steve Irwin will spend five days in Hobart picking up fuel and other provisions, before returning to Antarctic waters to pursue the Japanese whalers.
. . . original article
January 17, 2009 -- Reuters - wire service
Anti-whaling ship in Australia, plans return to Antarctica
Anti-whaling activists seeking to disrupt Japanese whaling around Antarctica said Saturday their ship had docked in Tasmania and should head back to the Southern Ocean next week.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society temporarily called off its operations earlier this month after its flagship the "Steve Irwin" ran low on fuel, and refused to divulge where it was heading.
However, founder Paul Watson told Reuters on that it had arrived in Hobart, capital of Australia's southern island state of Tasmania, where it was docked. It should refuel by Tuesday and head back to the ocean either Tuesday or Wednesday, he said.
Australia's whaling-opposed government had earlier rejected Japanese requests to disallow the vessel to dock and said it would allow the "Steve Irwin" to re-supply at an Australian port before returning to the Southern Ocean.
Plans are for the ship to remain in Antarctic waters until March, when Japan's annual whale hunt is due to finish, Watson said. . . more
January 16, 2009 -- The Age - Australia online/print news
Whaling ship faces delays in Indonesia
Indonesia has become involved in the dispute over Antarctic whaling as authorities delay the repair of a Japanese ship to decide whether it should be allowed into dry dock.
The whalers are having to make do without one of three catcher ships, Yushin Maru No. 2, reducing the fleet's killing power for much of the polar season.
The ship arrived recently in Surabaya, East Java, to replace a propeller damaged in heavy ice when the vessel fled the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin in Australian Antarctic waters last month.
Indonesian Government officials had queried Japanese claims that the harpoon-equipped, whale-killing vessel was a research ship, the Jakarta Animal Aid Network said.
"I think, I hope, they will refuse permission for it to dry dock," network spokeswoman Femke den Haas said yesterday. . . more
January 15, 2009 -- The Los Angeles Times - US online/print news
Japanese whaling fleet endures rising tide of opposition
Could it be karma, bad luck, or merely unfortunate circumstances that have victimized the Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic region?
The three-vessel fleet, which has been hounded relentlessly by a crew aboard a Sea Shepherd Society ship, has already lost a crewman, who fell overboard and is presumed drowned.
More recently, one of its damaged ships, the Yushin Maru #2, has been ordered to leave the Port of Surabaya, East Java, in Indonesia before making repairs to its propeller. Australia and New Zealand do not allow the ships in their ports because large-scale commercial whaling has been condemned internationally.
Now, it seems, neither will Indonesia, which received communiques from Australia asking that it deny the whaling ships any services. . . more
January 15, 2009 -- The Age - Australia online/print news
Garrett should meet Sea Shepherd: Greens
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has been urged to personally meet an anti-whaling ship when it arrives in Hobart to refuel on Saturday.
The Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin has suspended its pursuit of Japanese whalers through Antarctic waters in order to refuel.
It is due to dock at noon (AEDT) on Saturday and will spend five days in Hobart.
Greens leader Bob Brown has promised the Steve Irwin a warm reception, and he wants Mr Garrett to be there in person.
"I think it would be fantastic, he would have 21 million Australians behind him if he did that," Senator Brown told AAP, adding the symbolism would seen to be very strong in Tokyo. . . more
January 12, 2009 -- The Age - Australia online/print news
Japanese whalers 'fear Aussie arrest'
Japanese whalers sent a damaged vessel thousands of kilometres to be repaired in Indonesia because they feared arrest if they landed in Australia, an anti-whaling group says.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said one of Japan's three main harpoon vessels, the Yushin Maru No.2, was damaged around December 20.
Since then, the vessel had avoided docking at relatively close ports in Australia or New Zealand, and travelled all the way to Surabaya, Indonesia for repairs, Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson said on Monday.
"They can be served with a warrant if they go into Australia," Captain Watson told AAP via satellite phone from the Southern Ocean.
"There is a Federal Court order banning them from whaling in Australian territorial waters and they are in contempt of that order.
"They could be detained. They won't go into an Australian or New Zealand port.". . . more
January 8, 2009 -- Canberra Times - Australia online/print news
Japan snubbed over anti-whaling ship
Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard says there is no reason to ban an anti-whaling ship from docking at an Australian port.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Steve Irwin has suspended its chase of a Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctic waters and is heading towards Hobart to refuel.
Japan plans to ask Australian to block the vessel from entering the country, saying Sea Shepherd's "pirate-like" and violent actions must be rejected.
The Japan Whaling Association has said both Australia and New Zealand should bar the Steve Irwin from their ports.
But Ms Gillard said there were no grounds to ban the Steve Irwin from docking in Hobart, although the vessel is yet to request to do so.
"We have not received an impending vessel request from the Steve Irwin," she told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.
"Should such a a request be received, then the Steve Irwin will be permitted to dock at an Australian port. . . . more
January 7, 2009 -- Stuff - New Zealand online/print news
Captain rejects Japanese harassment claims
The captain of an anti-whaling ship, which offered to help search for a Japanese whaling ship's missing crewman, rejects claims he continued to harass the whalers during the search.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ship Steve Irwin has been pursuing Japanese whaling ship Kyoshin Maru No 2 in an attempt to prevent it whaling.
Early on Monday morning Hajime Shirasaki, a 30-year-old engine room oiler, was reported missing from the Kyoshin Maru No 2 and is believed to have been washed overboard, and drowned, in Antarctic seas with four metre swells.
The Japanese ship claimed the Steve Irwin's harassment continued while it was searching for the missing man.
The Steve Irwin approached without its lights on and "began to harass and disrupt navigation", a statement said.
The statement said the Steve Irwin called the Japanese vessel and said it had "come to help in the search for the missing crewman". . . more
January 7, 2009 -- The Age - Australia online/print news
Whaling foes clash over missing sailor
Anti-whaling activists deny they obstructed the search for a missing Japanese crewman feared drowned in freezing Antarctic waters.
The man fell overboard from the Japanese whaling fleet on Monday.
Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) accused the Sea Shepherd vessel, which has been chasing the whalers for weeks and throwing stink bombs at them, of using their distress call to pinpoint their location.
According to the ICR, the protesters then lurked in the vicinity without its navigation lights on, disrupting the search.
But Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson said he tried to help.
"We offered assistance in the search and their response was that they did not want any help from eco-terrorists," he told AAP. . . . more
January 6, 2009 -- The West Australian - Australia online/print news
Japan wants Australia to reject whaling protesters' port calls
Anti-whaling activists yesterday dared the Federal Government to ban them from docking at an Australian port to refuel after Environment Minister Peter Garrett would not dismiss a call from the Japan Whaling Association to veto their entry.
Steve Irwin captain and Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson said yesterday he had decided to take the longest course and head to Australia to refuel to challenge Mr Garrett.
On Sunday, the Whaling Association called on the Federal Government to stop the Steve Irwin entering a port, calling the crew terrorists.
Mr Garrett said yesterday that no complaint had been lodged against the Sea Shepherd but any request would be considered under relevant laws. There had not been any problems in the past with the Steve Irwin entering Australian ports.
However, a spokesman for Mr Garrett said later that the responsibility for any decision would rest with Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith and Customs Minister Bob Debus.
Capt. Watson said he would bypass the quicker routes of Chile and New Zealand and head for Hobart to issue Mr Garrett and the Federal Government with an ultimatum. Sea Shepherd has accused the Government of paying lip service to the whale slaughter and breaking its election promise to take an aggressive stance.
"Peter Garrett made the decision for us really," he said. "It's time to put the Government to the test. Will the Government refuse entry to a ship bearing Steve Irwin's name and carrying a crew of 15 Australian citizens?" . . . more
December 30, 2008 -- The Daily Telegraph - Australia online/print news
Whalers chased off killing zone by Sea Shepherd
MILITANT environmental campaigners say they have prevented Japanese whalers harpooning any of the giant sea mammals for nine days by engaging in a high-seas pursuit over 1000 nautical miles.
Paul Watson, captain of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel, Steve Irwin, says his crew chased the whalers through ice, rough seas and fog off Antarctica.
"I don't understand where they are running to - they are still going east. We've chased them over 1000 (nautical) miles (1852 kilometres) now," Watson said.
"We're still following . . . and they haven't killed any whales in nine days." . . . more
December 23, 2008 -- The Age - Australia online/print news
Whalers 'sighted in Antarctica'
AN ANTI-WHALING group says it has proof the Japanese whaling fleet has been operating in the historic heart of Australian Antarctica, Commonwealth Bay.
The Sea Shepherd group's leader, Paul Watson, said a helicopter found the factory ship Nisshin Maru in the bay shortly before he first engaged the fleet at the weekend.
Commonwealth Bay, due south of Tasmania, was the stopping-off point for early Australian expeditions by Douglas Mawson, which led the country to claim 42 per cent of the Antarctic continent, and declare a whale sanctuary off its shores.
A volunteer Australian expedition arrived there on Sunday to continue conservation work on the oldest Australian site in Antarctica, the National Heritage-listed Mawson's Huts.. . . more
December 20, 2008 -- The Age - Australia online/print news
Anti-whaling ship surprises Japanese fleet
JAPAN'S Antarctic whaling season faces the prospect of severe disruption, with the discovery of the fleet by the hardline anti-whaling activists of Sea Shepherd.
Sea Shepherd said it surprised the whalers yesterday offshore from the Australian Antarctic Territory south of Tasmania, only days after both arrived in the whaling grounds.
In previous seasons it has taken weeks of hunting across the Southern Ocean by Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd to track down the fleet, giving the whalers time to kill hundreds of minke whales first.
"This is the earliest we have ever found them," Sea Shepherd's leader, Paul Watson, said from the ship Steve Irwin.
"I think we'll have them on the run from here on in." . . . more
December 20, 2008 -- Reuters - online/print news
Hardline environmentalists pursue Japan's whalers
A hardline environmentalist group chasing Japanese whalers near Antarctica said on Saturday it would do its utmost to disrupt the hunt although bad weather had thwarted a stink bomb attack on one vessel.
Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, told Reuters by telephone that the group's ship, the Steve Irwin, would keep pursuing the whalers once the weather improved.
"They are on the run but right now it is very bad weather," he said from the Steve Irwin, adding it was the earliest in the whaling season his group had ever found the Japanese fleet.
"That means we are going to cut into their profits. When they are running they are not killing whales." . . . more
December 20, 2008 -- Perth Now - Perth, Australia online/print news
Sea Shepherd ship 'butter-bombs' Japanese whalers
THIS season's ''whale wars'' have erupted again with an Australian ship intercepting Japanese hunters and attacking them with rotten butter bombs.
The crew of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship, the Steve Irwin, intercepted a Japanese whaling fleet in Australian waters about 8am yesterday morning.
It came across Japanese harpoon vessel Yusshin Maru 2 inside the Australian Antarctic Economic Exclusion Zone near the south-west of Tasmania.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said the fleet was found less than one week after the Steve Irwin left Hobart.
''The encounter took place in dense fog and in dangerous ice conditions,'' a SSCS spokesman said.
''The Steve Irwin launched a Delta boat with a crew to attack the Yusshin Maru 2 with rotten butter bombs. . . more
December 20, 2008 -- The West Australian - Australia online/print news
Sea Shepherd chasing whalers in Australian waters
In icy waters and foggy conditions anti-whaling vessel Steve Irwin located the Japanese whaling fleet in Australian Antarctic territorial waters late yesterday.
The anti-whaling vessel and its crew of volunteers located the harpoon whaling ship Yushin Maru and attempted to surprise it with the launch of foul smelling biodegradable butter bombs.
Poor weather conditions hampered the attempt to hit the vessel with butter.
In a statement posted on the group's website today Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson said the Steve Irwin had located the Japanese whaling fleet inside Australian Antarctic waters.
It is the first time this season that the conservation group, which left Hobart less than a week ago, have encountered the Japanese whaling fleet.
Officially declaring 'Whale Wars season 2' open, Capt Watson said Sea Shepherd had the entire Japanese fleet on the run. . . . more
December 10, 2008 -- The Mercury - Tasmania, Australia online/print news
Anti-whalers set to fight
ANTI-whaling activist Paul Watson sets sail from Hobart tonight vowing to sink the Japanese whaling fleet _ economically.
Speaking dockside in Hobart today, the head of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society accused the federal government of abandoning the cause and engaging in the pretty harassment of him and fellow activists.
"We're not going down there to protest whaling, we're going down there to intervene, to uphold the law, to stop them from whaling," he said.
"The key to success is economics, we've got to make sure that their losses are greater than their profits every year.
"For the last three years they haven't made a profit. We're going to make it a fourth and if we have to make it a fifth we're going to keep doing it. We're never going to retreat from this. We're going to drive them economically.
"Our goal is to sink the Japanese whaling fleet economically." . . . more
December 6, 2008 -- The Age - Australia online/print news
Sea Shepherd set for anti-whaling battle
The only protest vessel set to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt in Antarctic waters has arrived in Newcastle, with crew expecting an even tougher confrontation than last year.
Stopping for fuel and oil, Canadian captain Paul Watson said the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's vessel, the Steve Irwin, would head off to harass a fleet of eight Japanese whaling ships in the Southern Ocean late on Saturday night.
Captain Watson said he was expecting more heated scenes than he experienced a year ago, when two Sea Shepherd activists claimed they were mistreated by Japanese whalers after they boarded a harpoon boat to deliver an anti-whaling letter.
After the pair was released, anti-whaling activists admitted to having thrown about 12 stink bombs at a Japanese whaling ship. "As soon as we catch up with them (Japanese whalers) I'm sure there will be a confrontation with them," Captain Watson told AAP. . . more
December 5, 2008 -- The Japan Times - Japan online/print news
Sea Shepherd, Hannah set off to find, hassle whaling fleet
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's flagship vessel departed Thursday from Brisbane with Hollywood actress Daryl Hannah on board for the hardline antiwhaling group's annual campaign to disrupt Japanese whalers in the Antarctic Ocean.
Hannah, who starred in the 1980s films "Blade Runner" and "Splash," will travel on the ship, the Steve Irwin, for one week to raise awareness of the need for joint action by conservation groups and governments to stop the killing of whales.
"They (the Japanese) are hunting endangered species in a marine protected area," the Australian Associated Press quoted Hannah as saying.
"It is surprising and shocking to me that governments are not doing this work - that it is up to individuals and nongovernment organizations to uphold international law and protect endangered species," she said.
Hannah joins skipper Paul Watson and some 42 international volunteers as they embark on Operation Musashi, named after legendary samurai Miyamoto Musashi, which aims to "negate the illegal profits from whaling."
Watson said he expects this year's clash with the whalers could be more violent than in the past because the whalers are becoming increasingly frustrated by disruptions to their quota. . . more
December 3, 2008 -- The Australian - Australia online/print news
Garrett 'hasn't delivered on whales'
THE leader of the militant conservation group Sea Shepherd has accused Australia of doing little to stop Japan's annual whale hunt in Antarctic waters.
And Environment Minister Peter Garrett had failed miserably on the issue, Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson said.
Capt Watson will leave Brisbane on Wednesday evening aboard the Sea Shepherd's flagship the Steve Irwin.
He aims to track down and harass a fleet of eight Japanese whaling ships in the Southern Ocean to stop them from taking their full quota.
Capt Watson said it was a disgrace that groups such as his were left as the sole defenders of whales in a protected sanctuary.
The Australian Government has this year refused to send a Customs vessel to monitor the whalers.
It claims to have gathered enough evidence during last year's hunt for any future legal challenge against Japan.
"I was hoping since the Rudd Government has a star in the form of Peter Garrett things would have changed, but obviously he hasn't delivered and that is unfortunate," Capt Watson said.
"Really we shouldn't have to be doing this ... this is an established whale sanctuary and there is a moratorium on whaling - what is it that people don't understand about the law?"
The Steve Irwin will be the only protest vessel seeking to disrupt this year's hunt . . . more
December 3, 2008 -- Associated Press
Activists vows to protect whales from Japanese
A radical conservationist said Wednesday he will not shy away from violent confrontation with Japanese whalers, even though his group will be alone in tracking this season's hunt in the remote, ice-strewn Antarctic Ocean.
Environmentalists Greenpeace and the Australian government have ruled out sending ships to shadow the whaling fleet again, and renegade activist Paul Watson said his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society stands alone in defense of the whales.
"Japan's been putting a terrific amount of pressure on everyone. We just haven't buckled," the Canadian told The Associated Press by telephone from the Australian east coast city of Brisbane.
Watson, a Canadian who has boasted about ramming whaling ships to save the marine mammals, said his crew would not use tactics that endanger life in the remote and treacherous southern seas, but that he expected the whalers to be on the offensive. Sea Shepherd activists have disrupted the annual hunt for the past three years, causing economic losses for the fleet, he said.
"They'll most likely be more aggressive toward us this year than last year," Watson said . . . more
December 2, 2008 -- Brisbane Times - Brisbane, Australia online/print news
Conservationists tip whale of a fight
Anti-whaling campaigners say they are bracing for their most violent confrontation yet as the Japanese whaling fleet gets set to begin its annual harvest of the southern ocean.
Sailing out of Brisbane tomorrow will be the Steve Irwin, the flagship of the only international protest group to attempt to interrupt the Japanese within the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary - the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
The Japanese fleet, run by the Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR), set sail from the port of Innoshima near Hiroshima last week.
Captain of the Steve Irwin, Paul Watson said he believed this year's confrontation with the whalers would be more violent than in previous years as a Japanese coast guard vessel was possibly travelling with the whaling flotilla.
"We believe the Japanese will be more aggressive and more violent than last year because they are getting desperate but we feel we have to take these risks to keep the pressure on," Captain Watson told brisbanetimes.com.au.
"We don't care if they send the whole damn Japanese navy there it is not going to stop us . . . more
November 22, 2008 -- The New York Times - US online/print news
In Battle Against Whaling, Groups Split on Strategy
Quietly, without the usual bon voyage fanfare and Buddhist blessings, a Japanese whaling ship set sail this week on its yearly hunt for the great whales of the Southern Ocean. If the hunting is good, the ship, Nisshin Maru, will haul in more than 1,000 whales.
Meanwhile, at the Rivergate Marina in Brisbane, Australia, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is preparing its own ship, the Steve Irwin, for its annual oceangoing battle with the Japanese whaler.
Past confrontations have been dramatic, dangerous, even violent. There have been collisions and rammings, forced boardings, the fouling of propellers, the firing of stink bombs and stun grenades, even allegations of gunplay.
Sea Shepherd, with a crew that includes the American actress Daryl Hannah, promises big surprises and new tactics for the Japanese fleet. But the group whose members have been labeled eco-terrorists will not have any backup this year: For the first time in four years, Greenpeace is not sending a ship to help harass the whalers.. . . more
November 13, 2008 -- International Herald Tribune - US online/print news
Japan: No change to upcoming whaling in Antarctic
Japan has no plans to scale down its upcoming whale hunt in the Antarctic Ocean despite protests from abroad and slumping demand for whale meat at home, an official said Thursday.
Japan's whaling fleet, which is set to leave for its annual hunt within days, will catch up to 935 minke whales and 50 fin whales as planned, the Fisheries Agency said.
The ministry denied a report in the major newspaper Asahi that Japan would slash the number of minke whales it would kill in the Antarctic by about 20 percent in light of international protests and a declining appetite for whale meat at home.
"There is no change to our plans," ministry official Toshinori Uoya said. "We are going ahead with the planned catch." . . . more
November 13, 2008 -- The Age - Australia online/print news
Anti-whaling head blasts govt efforts
The founder of the Sea Shepherd Society has criticised the Rudd government as being weaker than the previous Liberal government when it comes to Japanese whalers.
Captain Paul Watson arrived in Brisbane from Washington as the Sea Shepherd prepares its flagship vessel, the Steve Irwin, to intercept Japanese whaling boats in the Southern Ocean next month.
"I'm really upset with this government because they have reneged on every single promise they have made to protect the whales," Capt Watson told AAP.
"They (Japanese whalers) are killing whales in the Australian Antarctic Territory ... if you go to the charts it says 'Australian Antarctic Exclusion Zones'.
"Australia has claimed sovereignty over that area. They passed a federal government court order saying that Japan cannot whale in that area.
"Japan ignores them and Australia does nothing."
He said Australia had the power to shut Japan out.
"There's a lack of political and economic will and what is really bad is that this government came into power on a promise to get tough and they have reneged on it and in my opinion the former government is much tougher than this one," he said. . . . more
November 11, 2008 -- Reuters - UK online/print news service
Australia unlikely to monitor Japanese whaling
Australia's government is unlikely to send ships to monitor Japanese whaling in the Antarctic this season, lawmakers said Tuesday, after clashes with activists last year led to a diplomatic protest from Tokyo.
Canberra last year sent a customs and fisheries icebreaker to shadow anti-whaling activists and the Japanese fleet, gathering photo evidence of the yearly research hunt for a possible international legal case against Tokyo.
But after high-seas clashes between the whalers and activists in the frigid Southern Ocean, the brief detention of activists on a whale hunting ship and diplomatic protests from Japan, Environment Minister Peter Garrett would not promise a repeat.
"The Japanese whaling fleet is expected to launch within the next month, yet still the government refuses to take any active steps to prevent this annual slaughter," Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert told reporters. . . . more