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Japanese Fleet Driven Out Of Southern Ocean

Greenpeace drives Japanese whaling fleet out of the Southern Ocean hunting grounds

Southern Ocean, Sunday January 13th 2008 – After a high speed chase over hundreds of miles through fog and increasingly rough seas, the Greenpeace ship Esperanza this morning drove the Japanese whaling fleet out of the Southern Ocean hunting grounds.

Having confronted the fleet close to the ice edge, the Esperanza pursued the factory ship Nisshin Maru over the 60 degrees latitude mark – the boundary of the whale hunting grounds, followed by the catcher vessel Yushin Maru.

"We came here to stop the fleet from whaling and we have done that. Now they are out of the hunting grounds they should stay out," said Greenpeace Japan campaigner Sakyo Noda.

It is suspected that the fleet is planning to re-fuel soon and offload whale meat that has already been processed onto the Panamanian-registered tanker Oriental Bluebird – a ship not licensed to be part of the whaling fleet.

There are already around 4,000 tonnes of whale meat stockpiled in Japan from previous expeditions – clearly showing there is no appetite for it.

"They are re-suppling a fleet that is not welcome in Antarctica and trafficking whale meat that is not wanted in Japan," said expedition leader Karli Thomas. "In addition, we have seen the Oriental Bluebird re-fuelling the whaling fleet within the Antarctic waters in the past, which is a major threat to the pristine environment. The tanker is not registered as part of the whaling fleet, so should not be here."

ENDS

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