Greetings everyone. There was good news coming out of the Southern Ocean last night as the Sea Shepherd vessels continued their pursuit of the Japanese Whaling Fleet. As of last night, there were no Sea Shepherd or whaling ships inside the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. You can probably figure out what this means, but if you cant I will gladly tell you. Sea Shepherd, just a little over a day after finding them, has chased the entire whaling fleet out of the whale sanctuary. Here's a picture of the Nisshin Maru, the Japanese factory vessel steaming north of 60 degrees South.
So what is going on now? Well this certainly is not the end for the whaling fleet. Not yet at least. At some point within the next day or so I'd expect them to head South again. I'm basing this off of prior years where the Nisshin Maru left the whaling grounds, returned, left again, and basically went in circles trying to lose the tail of the Sea Shepherd vessels. With all of the whaling vessels accounted, there is no whaling going on in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary! All five of the Japanese ships were spotted at the same time, and all five are as far as we know, are still accounted for and not whaling. What this does spell is big time bad news for the whaling fleet. Over the past two years in particular, Sea Shepherd has severely hampered the whalers efforts culminating in last year's record low catch by the Japanese. The amount of debt that the whaling industry is in is astronomical at this point and it really remains a mystery as to how their ships are even able to make it down to the Southern Ocean anymore. In the past, Japan has shifted funds from other programs, including the Tsunami Relief Fund to help bolster security on board the ships and help pay for the hunt. To this day I fail to see how shifting those funds helps Japan more than helping it's own people recover from the devastating Tsunami. Perhaps the Japanese don't realize just how dangerous the problem at Fukushima is becoming as more radioactive liquids continues to spill out of the facility than ever before. Of course this does not spell good news for the oceans at all.
Now that the whaling fleet is on the run sort to speak, it is only a matter of time until a conflict occurs. Last year, this happened.
That is the whaling factory ship ramming both the fuel tanker, Sun Laurel, and the Bob Barker. Luckily no one was hurt and all three ships were able to continue, but the danger of this is evident to anyone who watches. With the whaling fleet found and Sea Shepherd publicizing that the hunt in the whale sanctuary was in fact happening one would think that the Government of Australia would act. So far no plane or ship for that matter has been launched to survey what is going on with the hunt or the eight ships that at any time could become engaged in a massive ship to ship conflict. The Australian Government who promised to put an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean has turned its back not only on the whales they promised to protect, but on the people who wanted to see nothing more than to see an end to poaching in their waters. Pressure continues to mount in Australia for a ship to be sent down, but so far the Government has refused to do so and the whereabouts of this plane that is supposed to be surveying the hunt is unknown. Should the plane be there it is not on any radar system and the helicopter of the Steve Irwin has not seen any Australian planes keeping watch over the activities.
For now Sea Shepherd has won the battle, but until the Government of Australia acts, the war against whaling in the Southern Ocean will continue. Operation Relentless rages on in the Southern Ocean.