Friday, February 15, 2013

The Southern Ocean Has Turned Red...

Earlier today, the Yushin Maru #2 sent an explosive harpoon into the back of a large minke whale. The whale fought for a long time before dying. The Sea Shepherd vessel Bob Barker was positioned a half mile behind the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru at the time the whale was harpooned. It is believed that this is the first whale to be killed this season. The Bob Barker prevented the transfer of the whale from the harpoon ship to the factory ship for several hours before the whale was eventually transferred. During the fight, the Nisshin Maru and Yushin Maru #2 deployed prop fouling equipment in an attempt to disable the Bob Barker. The crew of the Bob Barker responded by deploying two small boats to cut the prop fouling lines. The Bob Barker positioned itself for several hours between the harpoon and factory ships before the harpoon vessel was able to make the transfer after nearly ramming the Bob Barker. This video is from a crewman of the Nisshin Maru of the Bob Barker preventing the transfer of the whale. This lasted for 9 hours. 

The Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin has met up with the Bob Barker short time ago to help the Bob Barker shut down whaling operations. The Yushin Maru #1 is still missing in action some hundreds of miles away from the action and could possibly be sitting out of fuel somewhere in the Southern Ocean. The Japanese Security ship Shonan Maru #2 has also not been seen, there is a possibility that they are trying to help the distressed Yushin Maru #1. The Yushin Maru #3 is still following the Steve Irwin and the Brigitte Bardot continues to speed towards the battlefield. Elsewhere, the Sam Simon continues to tail the Japanese whaling fleet's supply vessel, the Sun Laurel.

So here's my take on what's going on in the Southern Ocean. The Japanese whaling fleet has decided that the lives of their fellow countrymen are not worth the amount of money a dead whale would make for them. They have proven this to me by abandoning the Yushin Maru #1 in it's hour of need. The South Korean ship, the Sun Laurel is in a terrible position by having the Sam Simon on their tail. The two ships have passed below 60 degrees South Antarctic Treaty line. It is illegal for any refueling to take place below that line. The Sun Laurel has been informed of this. If they attempt to refuel the Japanese vessels, Australia should a ship to  arrest each and every member of the crew of the Sun Laurel. Australia has failed to send a ship to the Southern Ocean so far, but perhaps this could encourage them to do so. 

Sea Shepherd is certainly winning this season. Japan has cried foul on Sea Shepherd for breaching an injunction that states no Sea Shepherd vessel can approach a whaling ship. Sea Shepherd's response is that Sea Shepherd USA is not in the Southern Ocean. The entire campaign is being headed by Sea Shepherd Australia. No Sea Shepherd ship in the Southern Ocean is registered in the United States. So this campaign has nothing to do with the US and the US courts should have no say in what goes on in Australian waters. I fully agree with that belief. 

Lastly, the I feel that the economics of whaling still make no sense. At this point the Japanese people are being forced to pay for the losses sustained by the whaling fleet. In 2011, 8.9 million dollars in tax payer money went to keeping the whaling fleet afloat. Despite large stockpiles of whale meat, Japan continues the hunt for a country in which roughly 10% of the population actually supports whaling. Nearly the entire world wants to see this insanity end. Sea Shepherd wants it to end. The ICR didn't want to go to the Southern Ocean this year. Only the Japanese Government wants this insanity to continue for no real reason. So much money has been lost already by the fleet and this year is probably going to be their biggest loss yet. It makes no sense as to why this hunt continues. All we can do is make sure to spread the word about this frankly stupid and pointless slaughter. Sea Shepherd is taking direct action which is totally admirable and amazing, but for us who are stuck on land, the best thing we can do is continue to educate, educate, educate! For those of you who are unaware of exactly what is going on, here are two pictures and two videos of the annual Japanese whale hunt in the Southern Ocean.
In this video, a whale is harpooned and shot multiple times. This happens every time a whale is killed.
In this video, the Shonan Maru #2 tears the bow off the Sea Shepherd vessel Ady Gil while it sat dead in the water leading to the eventual sinking of the Ady Gil.

The Yushin Maru with a harpooned whale

False claims of collecting tissue samples. No research from the Southern Ocean has come from Japan in several years.

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