Greetings and Happy New Year to you all. I apologize for my absence since Christmas Eve, but as expected things got crazy and it just so happens that I did not miss much between then and now. Anyway... News has literally just broke out of Sea Shepherd Australia that the Japanese Whaling Fleet has been spotted in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Sea Shepherd has confirmed through this video that whales have once again been killed by the Japanese in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
This video was taken by the Sea Shepherd vessel, Steve Irwin's, helicopter. Unlike several prior years, Sea Shepherd has managed to find all 5 of the whaling fleets ships together. As you might expect, the chase is now on. According to Sea Shepherd Australia, the Sea Shepherd ships are in pursuit of the whaling fleet who are now apparently on the run. This year, Sea Shepherd has gone down to the Southern Ocean with just three ships. The speed vessel was left behind this year, probably due to the fact that last year it sustained massive damage after being struck by a rogue wave. So the three ships that you will be seeing me blog about a great deal over the next few months include the Steve Irwin, the Bob Barker, and the Sam Simon. As a quick background on these three ships...
The Steve Irwin is named after the late Steve Irwin AKA the Crocodile Hunter. This ship has been the flagship for Sea Shepherd for several years now. The Bob Barker is a former whaling ship purchased from Norway by Bob Barker and donated to Sea Shepherd. The Bob Barker has an ice class hull, so it is capable of venturing into thicker ice than the Steve Irwin. The Sam Simon is the newest edition to the Sea Shepherd fleet. Purchased and donated by one of the Simpsons creators, Sam Simon. This ship used to participate in whaling activities as well hence it's striking similarities to the Japanese whaling ships. Once used for killing, the Sam Simon now has Anti Poaching proudly written on her side.
Last year, Sea Shepherd managed to cut the whaling fleet's kill count to roughly 25% of their intended kill. One would think that Sea Shepherd plans to do the same thing this year. Last year also culminated in very violent collisions that involved the Japanese factory ship, Nisshin Maru, the Bob Barker, and the Japanese fueling ship, the Sun Laurel. Luckily no injuries on any side came as a result of the collisions, but the Bob Barker was nearly capsized by a ship that is many times their size. As a result of the mounting violence in the Southern Ocean, Australia has decided to send a plane down to the Southern Ocean to monitor the whaling fleet and any conflicts between the Japanese and Sea Shepherd. This is the way that Australia plans to avoid sending a ship down to Antarctica to defend it's whale sanctuary like the Government promised to do before being voted into office. For years, Australia has skirted around the issue of whaling in the Southern Ocean and is now patiently waiting for a court verdict as to whether or not the hunt is legal. Meanwhile, Japanese Coast Guard members and a Japanese Security Vessel are in Australian waters against three unarmed conservation ships that are forced to do the work of a Government who has decided to go against their promise to end whaling in the Southern Ocean. The whale wars are now underway and we should all hold our breath for the safety of the crews of the Sea Shepherd ships and the crews of the Whaling Fleet as well. If someone finally does get killed down there, I will point the finger towards the Australian Government who continually allow the Japanese fleet to violate a whale sanctuary that is under Australian control. Stay tuned here for updates on Sea Shepherd's Operation Relentless and also stay tuned as Operation Kibou is back underway!