Sea Shepherd Clashes With Whaling Fleet
Sea Shepherd Clashes With Whaling Fleet in Australian Waters
Eric Cheng / Sea Shepherd
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Steve Irwin closed in on one of the vessels of the Japanese whaling fleet at 0730 Hours GMT (1930 Hours Sydney Time) on December 26th off the coast of the Australian Antarctic Territory north of the Mawson Peninsula.
The Kaiko Maru emerged from dense fog in front of the Steve Irwin. The Sea Shepherd crew pursued and delivered 10 bottles of rotten butter and 15 bottles of a methyl cellulose and indelible dye mixture.
"That is one stinky slippery ship," said Sea Shepherd 2nd Officer Peter Hammarstedt of Sweden.
The Japanese ship was ordered out of the territorial waters of Australia by Australian citizen Jeff Hansen from Perth, Western Australia. The message was delivered in Japanese.
As the Steve Irwin came alongside the starboard side of the Kaiko Maru, the whaler steered hard to starboard and struck the Steve Irwin lightly crushing part of the aft port helicopter deck guard rails on the Sea Shepherd ship. There was no serious damage to either ship.
The Sea Shepherd crew's objective was to intimidate the Japanese fleet and to keep them moving Eastward out of Australian Territorial waters. The Sea Shepherd crew have been pursuing the fleet eastward for a week. There is only 90 miles left before the fleet enters the New Zealand Zone.
"Our objective now is to chase them out of Australia's Economic Exclusion Zone," said Captain Paul Watson. "I have a chart here and it clearly states that these waters are Australian EEZ. There is an Australian Federal Court Order specifically prohibiting these ships from whaling in these waters. We have informed the whalers they are in contempt of this Court ruling."
There is no doubt that Japanese whaling in Australian waters has been severely disrupted. Since Saturday, the Sea Shepherd crew have chased the Japanese fleet for 400 miles through heavy fog, dense ice and nasty weather. During that time they have not been able to kill any whales.
"We still have them on the run and we intend to keep them on the run for as long as our fuel resources allow," said Captain Watson.