Unprecedented victory! Volunteers, Shepherds of Sea defend oceans w/ No Compromise, chasing butchers out of Whale Sanctuary
Salute to fearless volunteers - Sea Shepherd sent vessels to the area for the 7th year this season.. its 801-metric-ton Bob Barker vessel had trailed the 8,044-metric ton Nisshin Maru ship for 2,000 miles (3,220 kilometers) near the Southern Ocean, and cut off Supplies to the Japanese Whaling Fleet.. As a result, the whalers caught 170 minke whales out of a planned 850 and 2 fin whales from a planned 50. Japan has no choice but to abandon its whale hunt for the first time in four years. Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd and captain of its fleet, said: “I have a crew of 88 very happy people from 23 different nations including Japan,” he said. “And they are absolutely thrilled that the whalers are heading home and the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is now indeed a real sanctuary.”
February 17, 2011 - Victory in the Southern Ocean Day for the Whales. It’s official – the Japanese whaling fleet has called it quits in the Southern Ocean, at least for this season. And if they return next season, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will be ready to resume their efforts to obstruct and disable illegal Japanese whaling operations. “The Nisshin Maru made a significant course change immediately after the Japanese government made it official that the whaling fleet has been recalled,” said Captain Alex Cornelissen from the Bob Barker. “She looks like she’s going home!” The Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker has been tailing the Japanese Nisshin Maru factory ship since February 9th making it impossible for the whalers to continue their illegal whaling operations.
“I have a crew of 88 very happy people from 23 different nations including Japan and they are absolutely thrilled that the whalers are heading home and the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is now indeed a real sanctuary,” said Captain Paul Watson.
The Sea Shepherd ships Steve Irwin, Bob Barker, and Gojira will remain in the Southern Ocean to escort the Japanese ships northward. “We will not leave the whale sanctuary until the last whaling ship has departed,” said Gojira captain Locky MacLean.
“This is a great victory for the whales,” said Captain Watson, “but we did not do this alone. Without the support of the people of Australia and New Zealand, we would not have been able to send voyages out for seven seasons from Australian and New Zealand ports. We are grateful to Senator Bob Brown and the Australian Greens Party. We are very grateful to Mr. Bob Barker for giving us the ship that turned the tide in our efforts to force the Japanese fleet from these waters. We are grateful to all our onshore staff and volunteers, supporting members and ship crews. We are grateful to the Chilean Navy and the government of France for their support. It is a very happy day for people everywhere who love whales and our oceans.”
It’s official – the killing of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is over for this season and the whalers did not even take 10% of their quota. Sea Shepherd estimates that over 900 whales have been saved this year.
“It’s a great day for the whales,” said Sea Shepherd Chief Cook on the Steve Irwin Laura Dakin of Canberra, Australia, “and it’s a great day for humanity!”
We did it! This week, we drove the entire Japanese whaling fleet from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. They are on their way home!
But we did not do it alone. We did it with you! Sea Shepherd is more than the ships and crew that operate them.
Yes, the crew is important - men and women from around the world from all walks of life who volunteer their time and skills and risk their lives to defend life in the seas. They are, of course, a very important reason for the success of our missions. They are the people who directly confront the killers on the high seas. It is their passion that makes Sea Shepherd all that we can be.
The crew on the ships could not function without our onshore crew, who make up our office staff and our many shore-based volunteers. Our onshore crewmembers are in a very real sense just as important as those who go to sea. They make budgets, answer phones, process donations, conduct legal research, respond to media inquiries, create merchandise, organize benefits like bake sales and art auctions, man information tables, prepare the ships in port, solicit donations of food and services for the ships--and so much more.
But, the foundation of what we are and what we do lies firmly upon the shoulders of our supporters from all around the world. Your financial backing puts the resources into our hands that feed our crew, put gas in the tank and paint on our hull, keep our engines running, and our safety and navigational requirements in tip top shape.
It is this trinity of sea crew, onshore crew, and financial support crew that keeps Sea Shepherd at sea and keeps the harpoons away from the whales, the clubs away from the seals, the longlines and driftnets away from the fish, turtles, and sharks, and the knives away from the dolphins.
Sea Shepherd is all of us who care about our oceans and are willing to stand up and ACT, in whatever way we are able, in defense of the wondrous diversity of life in our fragile oceans.
We are all Shepherds of the Sea and those who are not should be, because the stark reality is that if our oceans die, we die! Together we fight not just for the whales, sharks, seals, sea-birds, turtles, and fish, together we fight for our own survival.
Together we are a force for good, a force for change, a force for ecological sanity, and a force to be reckoned with!
We will be honored if you would continue to stand with us as we imminently face battles on other fronts - bluefin tuna overfishing in the Mediterranean, pilot whale slaughter in the Faeroes, dolphin killing in Taiji, poaching in the Galapagos, and more.
To all the Shepherds of the Sea that made it possible for us to drive the whale killers from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, I think I can speak for all the citizens of the sea in saying "Thank-you."
For the oceans,
Captain Paul Watson
Founder and President
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
PO Box 2616, Friday Harbor, WA 98250 USA
Tel: +1-360-370-5650 Fax: +1-360-370-5651
The whales are harpooned and then killed and dragged aboard these giant factory ships and they end up as slabs of frozen shrink-wrapped whale meat in Japanese supermarkets. The trouble is, fewer people in Japan really want to eat whale meat, so the butchering industry has resorted to slipping it into school lunches for unsuspecting kids and their parents. Meanwhile, the Sea Shepherd folks have been following them around and intercepting their ships for years, doing all those heroic and often dangerous maneuvers you see on Whale Wars..
Sea Shepherd sent vessels to the area for the seventh year this season and said earlier this week its 801-metric ton Bob Barker vessel had trailed the 8,044-metric ton Nisshin Maru ship for 2,000 miles (3,220 kilometers) near the Southern Ocean. The group claimed it had prevented hunting since Feb. 9. The whalers caught 170 minke whales out of a planned 850 and 2 fin whales from a planned 50, Kyodo News reported today.
Japanese Supply Vessel Agrees to Leave the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary - The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has advised the Panamanian registered Sun Laurel tanker to leave the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Captain Locky MacLean of the Gojira has advised the Sun Laurel that refueling vessels in the Southern Ocean below 60 degrees latitude is unlawful, especially with heavy fuel, and is a clear violation of the Antarctic Treaty.
The captain of the Sun Laurel has agreed to leave the Sanctuary and is heading north towards the 60 degree south of latitude line. The Steve Irwin and the Gojira are escorting the Sun Laurel out of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The Sun Laurel has to travel fifty more miles before passing north of 60 degrees.
The captain of the Sun Laurel has confirmed that he has not transferred any supplies or refueled any of the illegal whaling vessels. This means that as long as Sea Shepherd’s ships continue to prevent any transfer of fuel and supplies, the Japanese whaling fleet will not be able to extend their killing season beyond the first week in February. The Japanese fleet was three weeks late arriving to the Southern Ocean; the Sea Shepherd ships found them before they even began whaling.
The Sea Shepherd ships have been chasing the Nisshin Maru factory ship for two weeks. Two of the three illegal harpoon vessels have been tailing the Sea Shepherd ships for two weeks and have not killed any whales. There is reason to believe that the third harpoon vessel has not taken any whales because it appears to be traveling with the Nisshin Maru to avoid being tracked down by Sea Shepherd.
The Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker will escort the Sun Laurel supply vessel to prevent refueling, and the Gojira will break off within a few hours to resume the hunt for the Nisshin Maru.
Sea Shepherd Cuts off Supplies to the Japanese Whaling Fleet The mysterious and elusive supply ship for the Japanese whaling fleet has been located. At 1420 hours on January 12 AEST, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s scout and interceptor vessel the Gojira found the Japanese refueling and supply ship. It is identified as the Panamanian registered Sun Laurel (IMO# 9405631), and it was found at 62 degrees 43 minutes south and 178 degrees 33 minutes west.
Captain of the Gojira Canadian Lockhart MacLean radioed the Sun Laurel and asked if they were in the area to refuel the Japanese whaling fleet. Their response was a hesitant “maybe.” The tanker is full and has not yet discharged its supplies to the Nisshin Maru or the harpoon vessels.
The Bob Barker, being tailed by the Yushin Maru, and the Steve Irwin being tailed by the Yushin Maru No. 3, immediately changed course to intercept the tanker. The Steve Irwin is expected to intercept the Sun Laurel at 2200 hours AEST on January 12. The Sun Laurel departed from Japan on December 4, 2010 from the port of Tateyama Ko.
Captain Paul Watson responded to the interception of the Sun Laurel from the Steve Irwin, “We have found the Achilles heel of the whaling fleet and we intend to stay on it like a bloodhound and keep this ship from delivering fuel and supplies to the whaling fleet. This tanker’s support of Japan’s illegal activities makes the captain and crew of the Sun Laurel as culpable as the person firing the harpoon into a whale’s flesh.”
The Sea Shepherd ships have now chased the whaling fleet for 13 days, and with the harpoon ships tailing, finding and closing in on the Nisshin Maru has proven to be very difficult. The harpoon ships simply relay the position of the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker ahead allowing the Nisshin Maru, allowing it to stay out of reach.
“So if we can’t go to the Nisshin Maru, the Nisshin Maru will have to come to us,” said Captain Watson. “They need to refuel soon, and we will be here with the Sun Laurel waiting for them to arrive. Refueling south of 60 degrees is illegal and we intend to enforce the Antarctic Treaty if they attempt to violate it.”
There is no evidence that any whales have been killed this season. The entire Japanese whaling fleet has been fleeing from the Sea Shepherd ships for nearly two weeks since being found on the eastern side of the Ross Sea on December 31, 2010.
The three Sea Shepherd ships are committed to spending the remainder of the whaling season in the Southern Ocean, but the season will be cut very short if the whaling ships are unable to refuel. “It’s time for these poachers to take their harpoons and flensing knives and head home,” said Captain MacLean from the Gojira. “We have made it clear that they are not welcome in the sanctuary.”
Coast trio helps stop whale hunt. Brothers Mal and Campbell Holland and Cassandra Smith are part of the crews on three Sea Shepherd ships that have chased the Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean for the past month: 'We are a seafaring family and have always had a connection with the natural world and the natural environment.'
The sailing master of Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin, Mal Holland, who is from Yaroomba, said it was the conservationists’ biggest success in seven years. Mal, 35, has been on Sea Shepherd ships for four years. His younger brother, 32-year-old Campbell, of Woombye, is in his second year with the fleet. Campbell is the chief engineer on Bob Barker.
Photos courtesy of Sea Shepherd
Painting by Peter Gerasimon
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