On 22 December, at approximately 6:40pm GMT, Sea Shepherd’s patrol vessel the Ocean Warrior intercepted one of the harpoon ships of the Japanese whale-poaching fleet in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
“The crews of the Ocean Warrior and the MV Steve Irwin have been battling through thick fog and ice to protect the whales in the Australian whale sanctuary,” said Captain Adam Meyerson of the Ocean Warrior. “The Yushin Maru was hiding behind an iceberg and came out on a collision course.”
The harpoon ship was located approximately 165 miles northeast of Australia’s Casey base, well inside the Australian whale sanctuary (64˚15′ S 115˚06′ E). Sea Shepherd’s vessels are now on the hunt for the centerpiece of the illegal Japanese whaling fleet, the floating slaughterhouse known as the Nisshin Maru.
“Finding one of the hunter killer ships hiding behind an iceberg in a thick fog means that the rest of the fleet is nearby,” says Meyerson. “We all hope to have whaling in the Southern Ocean shut down by Christmas.”
In the meantime, foggy weather conditions have made for poor for visibility for the whaling fleet, which is a great sign for the whales.
“While I applaud the work Sea Shepherd are doing locating the Japanese whaling fleet deep inside the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, it is appalling that they are having to do the Australian Government’s work for them,” said Australian Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson in a statement reacting to the news. “The whales are getting more protection from the weather than from the Australian Government.”