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Japanese killing fleet sets sail for Whale Sanctury

7th December, 2013 – Hobart, Australia

Japan sets its sights on Australian Minke whales like "Spot"

The Japanese Whale Poaching Fleet has left Japan, setting sail for the Australian Antarctic Whale Sanctuary. The factory vessel, the Nisshin Maru left Innoshima port today and the refueling vessel, the Sun Laurel, left a couple of days prior. The harpoon ships no longer have their AIS (Automatic Identification System) on and appears are underway as well.

Japan is not waiting for the International Court Case result.

Their mission is to brutally kill 1035 whales, comprising of 935 Protected Minke, 50 Endangered Fin and 50 humpback whales. They plan to break Australian Federal law banning the slaughter of whales in the Australian Whale Sanctuary.

Sea Shepherd's mission is to intercept the poachers from Japan before a single whale is killed and restore the integrity of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Australian scientists recently tracked a minke whale from the Great Barrier Reef deep into the sub-antarctic for the first time. A tracking program on dwarf minke whales, the focus of growing reef tourism, followed one nicknamed "Spot" deep into the Southern Ocean before its tag expired.

"What is clear is that whales like "Spot" that call Australia home, that Australians and tourists from all over the world have experienced and eyeballed in the Great Barrier Reef, face imminent threat from a grenade tipped harpoon from Japan. The only hope that whales like Spot have is brave crews of Sea Shepherd." - Jeff Hansen, Managing Director, Sea Shepherd Australia.

"The Japanese whaling fleet is likely to arrive in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary before the new year. I expect to celebrate New Years Eve on the slipway of the whaling factory ship, after completely shut down their illegal whaling operations." - Bob Barker Captain Peter Hammarstedt

"Once again the Japanese Whaling Fleet shows complete disregard for the international community, because despite the pending ruling at the International Court of Justice in the Hague, the Institute for Cetacean Research will once again attempt to kill over 1000 whales. For the tenth year, Sea Shepherd will be the only form of defence for the whales." - Alex Cornelissen, Global Executive Officer Sea Shepherd

"The Japanese whaling fleet's departure for the Southern Ocean is once again in the face of International opposition, a pending International Court of Justice ruling and in violation of Australia's federal court order. The only thing that stands between their illegal slaughter and the whales are three Sea Shepherd ships. With legality, morality and the public opinion on our side, we will soon depart from Australia to meet the whale poachers off the ice edge of Antarctica and we will not return until we drive the Nisshin Maru out of the whale sanctuary" - Steve Irwin Captain Siddharth Chakravarty

Sea Shepherd Australia has informed the Minister for the Environment, The Hon. Greg Hunt, that the whale poachers are on their way.

We have 23 nationalities, from every continent, represented on board including: United Kingdom, Ireland, Bermuda, Netherlands, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic, United States, Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, India, Ghana, Singapore, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Each year Japan has been escalating their violence not only against the whales, but also against Sea Shepherd’s international crew. With no repercussions from the Australian Government, Japan has effectively been given a green light to do whatever it wants with no respect for life.

Over 100 crew (37 are Australian) consisting of 23 nationalities are counting on the Abbott Government to live up to their per-election promise and send a customs vessel.

The time for the Australian Government to send a vessel is now!

ENDS

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