Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bob Barker Blockade

As Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin heads SE to the Japanese whaling fleet (after resupplying in NZ last week), the ships Bob Barker and Gojira are still preventing the nasty Nippons from killing any whales.
Yushin Maru 3 tried to test BB's resolve, by moving in quickly as if to transfer a dead whale to the factory ship Nisshin Maru (although they didn't have one). BB held its position hard astern of NM. The Japanese blinked...and retreated, leaving BB solidly blocking the NM's stern slipway.
For a ship that was screaming out international "under attack" distress calls and was supposedly entangled with two prop foulers only a week ago, YM3 got back into the chase very quickly indeed...!
NM has been unable to shake off BB in the ice packs. G flanks the fleet, keeping on the outside of the ice packs and speeding up to meet the whalers when they emerge from the ice.
Currently there is no way for the whalers to load whales without causing a collision with BB, and no way to shake SS unless they deliberately sink the G (and thus nail their own coffin lid down permanently). Meanwhile SI will arrive by mid-week.

The whaling fleet is running at 14 knots (almost the factory ship's full speed of 15.5 knots/29 km/h) and is now E of the whaling grounds' boundary. Both the whalers and Sea Shepherd are closer to South America (1,700 miles away) than to NZ/Oz (3,000 miles away). NM is making erratic course changes, burning alot of fuel and not killing a single whale. The whereabouts of Yushin Maru 1 and Yushin Maru 2 are unknown but of little consequence: without the factory ship, the harpoon vessels are useless. They can’t kill whales if they can’t unload the carcasses to their floating abattoir.
Speaking of "missing in action", this season's almost total lack of offical statements from the Institute of Cetacean Research has been interesting. Their NZ-based spokesman, Glenn Inwood of Omeka Communications (known by SS as "Ginza Glenn"), has been conspicuous by his near-absence from the media spotlight. I guess the whalers have very little to SAY... they certainly have very little to DO!!
Nisshin Maru and Yushin Maru 3 try to run from Bob Barker

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