|dead minkes on Nisshin Maru|
It pursued all five vessels, driving them away from their intended poaching grounds and disrupting their hunt, but blood had already been spilt.
Steve Irwin's helicopter first located the Nisshin Maru factory ship in NZ's sovereign waters in the Ross Dependency Antarctic region, and inside the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. It took footage of three dead protected minke whales on the deck of NM. A fourth whale, believed to be a minke, was being butchered on the bloodstained deck. The chase began.
Late Tuesday afternoon, after 360 miles of running, SS drove NM out of the Antarctic Treaty Zone.
SS has all the nasty Nippons accounted for, and confirms the whaling fleet is scattered and not hunting: the harpoon ships are separated by hundreds of miles and NM is unable to stop.
The Japanese were escorted across 60°S and past the northern limit of the Antarctic Treaty Zone by SS ships Sam Simon, Steve Irwin and SI's helicopter. The three SS ships are still in the Southern Ocean and will continue patrols, should NM attempt to veer south.
Meanwhile, Operation Relentless (SS's tenth Antarctic whale defence campaign), continues...