Saturday, February 22, 2014

Will the Third Time be the Charm? Sea Shepherd Again Locates Illegal Whaling Operation

Good evening everyone. Tonight will be another night that  will be doing two blogs. With everything that has going on with the respective slaughters in Taiji and West Australia, I have not been covering the situation of Japan killing whales in the Southern Ocean as much as I originally anticipated I would be. To catch you all up on what is going on I'll summarize what has gone on thus far during Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Operation Relentless. Thus far the Sea Shepherd fleet has located and pursued the Japanese whaling fleet on two separate occasions. Both times the conservation vessels escorted the whaling ships out of the whaling grounds only to lose them before being able to obtain their ultimate goal of shutting down the whaling operations for the season.

The second time that Sea Shepherd located the whaling fleet they had them on the run for a solid of January, which could prove to be a disaster for the whaling fleet. That we will not know until they release their catch totals at the end of the season. In early February, the whaling fleet was able to break free of the Sea Shepherd vessels by using their harpoon vessels to cross the bows of the conservation ships on at least 8- separate occasions. One of these occasions led to a collision between the Yushin Maru No.3 and the Bob Barker. Now unless things have changed, which I do not believe they have, it is the responsibility of a vessel which is overtaking another vessel to maintain a safe distance between itself and the vessel it is overtaking. In this instance the whaling fleet broke that law. At the same time though, Japan claims that Sea Shepherd was doing the same thing with their inflatable boats, which I believe they did do as they pretty much do it all the time. The difference is there is no way that a little inflatable vessel would ever be able to sink a harpoon ship by running into it. Two large ships colliding is an entirely different story. Anyway... Since this conflict the whaling fleet sacrificed it's security ship and one of it's harpoon vessels to track the Sea Shepherd ships allowing them to whale at will.

Another situation would soon rise as in order to shake the tail of the Japanese security ship, the Sea Shepherd ship, Steve Irwin, would head into New Zealand waters where the whaling fleet is not permitted to enter. When questioned about the incident, the Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) responded by saying the Shonan Maru #2 and all other whaling vessels move only with approval from the Japanese Government. So basically this means that the Japanese Government told the Shonan Maru #2 to follow the conservation ship into waters it was forbidden from entering. The security ship would spend over a day in New Zealand waters with armed Japanese police and coast guard units on board. Around that same time a similar situation unfolded in Australian waters as the Sea Shepherd ship, Bob Barker, had entered Australian waters in an attempt to lose the tail of the harpoon ship Yushin Maru #3, the same ship that collided with it days earlier. The harpoon ship was not as stubborn about leaving waters it was un-welcomed in as it stopped just one mile outside of Australian waters.

Now the stage is set for a third conflict between the Japanese whaling fleet and the Sea Shepherd fleet. Earlier today the helicopter of the Steve Irwin discovered the Nisshin Maru as well as the three harpoon vessels of the whaling fleet. The three Sea Shepherd ships are now in pursuit of the whaling fleet once again as the whaling fleet's security vessel, Shonan Maru #2, is also nearby. At last report, the three harpoon ships have taken positions behind the the Nisshin Maru and are attempting to escape the approaching conservationists. Sea Shepherd has once again disrupted the whaling operations and with each day that passes between now and the end of the whaling season that the whaling fleet cannot whale is a big hole in their pockets. Sea Shepherd seeks to destroy the whaling industry financially and they are achieving that goal each and every time the harpoons are put away.

Some eyes now shift back to the Southern Ocean, including mine. I will continue to try and keep you all updated on what is going on with Sea Shepherd's Operation Relentless, but I cannot guarantee that I'll be able to catch everything as my primary focus right now is on the West Australia Shark Cull. With that being said. Visit www.seashepherd.org.au for news on Operation Relentless and again, I will try my best to keep things up to date here as well!

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