Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd says it's boxed in the Japanese whaling fleet's factory ship Nisshin Maru, effectively suspending whaling in the Southern Ocean.
The conservation group located the Japanese fleet on Friday night. It was able to track the fleet by the discarded, bloody remnants of dead whales strewn through the waters of the Southern Ocean. It also said it was given valuable information from Australian Environment Munster Greg Hunt.
Steve Irwin's helicopter spotted the floating abbatoir and its two harpoon ships on Friday night, after heavy fog lifted. SS's ships quickly made their way towards them.
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SS NZ spokesman Michael Lawry says the Japanese fleet, including its harpoon and security vessels, is now leaving the whaling grounds: "They were heading northeast, out of the area. If they're moving, they're not whaling, and if we're on the tail of the factory ship, they won't be whaling." He said the plan will be "…just to stay on their tail and drive them out. If we can stay on their tail, then they won't be able to load any more whales on."