Friday, January 6, 2012

Divine Wind: First Contact

Hostilities between whalers and Sea Shepherd are underway.
SS ship Bob Barker found a Japanese harpooner Yushin Maru 3 in French waters 370km N of the Dumont d'Urville Antarctic base, but it's harpoon gun was covered so was not whaling at the time. YM3 left the French exclusive economic zone and is tailing BB in Australian Antarctic waters.
BB continues looking for the whalers' factory ship Nisshin Maru. It's the only SS ship currently operating after Brigitte Bardot was forced to return to Oz with hull damage: Steve Irwin escorted it while being tailed by security ship Shonan Maru 2 (the Ady Gil killer). BrBt (with only a skeleton crew) and SI arrived in Fremantle last night - storm damage will take several weeks to repair.
+ It was interesting how quickly the Oz Govt spanked SS for its aerial drones. It said an urgent environmental impact assessment was needed if they were to be used in Antarctic Treaty waters. Anyone going to the far south from an Oz port must file an EIA under strict environment protection rules. (An EIA = an assessment of the possible impact that a proposed project may have on the environment.) SS completed EIAs before leaving the Land of Oz last month, but Oz Antarctic Division mngr.Gillian Slocum emailed after the drones' existence became public, to say they hadn't been listed. (Ahhh, there's nothing quite like an official justifying their existence!) Approval was given on Wednesday. (Do the whalers file similar EIAs to cover their slaughtering and subsequent dumping of whale by-product in the ocean?)
+ Meanwhile, a Japanese town mayor says all the pre-sailing talk of beefed-up fleet security is bluff. The extra $29 million provided for this (controversially from tsunami relief funds) will be used to offset $24m debt and the only real change is that the whalers will get one extra escort vessel, through switching the role of Shonan Maru 2.
Mayor Tomoaki Nakao of the whaling port of Shimonoseki: "They don't need three harpoon vessels because I don't think they're planning to kill any more than 300 whales."

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