Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shutting Down The 2012 Whaling

The sat phone brought long-awaited news to Paul Watson: "Eureka! We have the Nisshin Maru in our sights!"
NM and her three harpoon boats were found by Bob Barker on Monday in Commonwealth Bay, sixty miles off the Antarctic Coast, inside the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone. Yushin Maru 3 had just arrived from tailing Steve Irwin. Despite the three harpoon vessels trying to block BB, it slipped past and IDed the factory ship...and two of the harpoon vessels chasing whales. All whaling activity stopped as NM tried to run away, but the faster BB gained steadily.
Captain Peter Hammarstedt: "With BB on their stern slipway, whaling is effectively shut down for 2012."
But the whalers weren't taking their discovery lieing down. Sydney Morning Herald reports that as BB closed in, two harpoon ships turned for it in growing darkness and snowfall. They passed dangerously across BB's bow, dragging 300m cables in an attempt to foul it's propeller. The harpoon ships trained their spotlights on the bridge, attempting to blind the crew, but backed off when BB retaliated with lasers. Flares were fired and angry radio messages exchanged in Japanese and English.
Nippon whalers try long-lining...
with steel cable!!!
Faster and more manoeuvrable, the harpoon ships harried its crew at close quarters for hours, attempting to prevent it from pursuing NM... but in vain. SS's teeth are now clamped firmly across the neck of the nasty Nippon butchery ship. 
Watson: "This has been a long tough campaign, with the worst weather and ice conditions we've experienced in the entire eight seasons we have been in the Southern Ocean. Despite the temporary loss of our scout ship Brigitte Bardot, we've kept them on the run, taken two of their three harpoon vessels off the hunt for two months, severely crippled their killing capabilities, and now once again we've shut them down 100%. Operation Divine Wind has been enormously successful!"
Now SS's flagship SI heads for Melbourne with Japanese security ship Shonan Maru 2 tailing. SI successfully led SM2 and YM3 away from BB, to allow it to lose a tailing vessel. The key to finding NM was losing the tailing ship - and it worked. SI's now expected in Melbourne next Wednesday, after halting in NZ to clear Customs. Watson: "We needed the Customs clearance because we would be charged taxes on our fuel by Australia without it."
Watson believes the whalers would take less than half of their quota this year, and he's planning to increase SS's capabilities dramatically next season with four ships and two helicopters...

PS: 09 March 2012 - Despite claiming they'd continue killing until the end of the month, it appears as if the nasty Nippons whalers are heading home early!!!
PS: 10 March 2012 - Nasty Nippons admit to only killing 267 of the 900 whales they had hoped to this season! Nice one, Sea Shepherd!!!

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