Sea Shepherd Intercepts the Japanese Whaling Fleet with Drones


Japanese Security Ships Move In On the Steve Irwin

The Sea Shepherd crew has intercepted the Japanese whaling fleet on Christmas Day, a thousand miles north of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

The Sea Shepherd ship, Steve Irwin, deployed a drone to successfully locate and photograph the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru on December 24th. Once the pursuit began, three Japanese harpoon/security ships moved in on the Steve Irwin to shield the Nisshin Maru to allow it to escape.

This time however the Japanese tactic of tailing the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker will not work because the drones, one on the Steve Irwin and the other on the Bob Barker, can track and follow the Nisshin Maru and can relay the positions back to the Sea Shepherd ships.

“We can cover hundreds of miles with these drones and they have proven to be valuable assets for this campaign,” said Captain Paul Watson on board the Steve Irwin.

The drone named Nicole Montecalvo was donated to the Steve Irwin by Bayshore Recycling of New Jersey.

Captain Watson having received reports from fishermen when the Japanese ship passed through the Lombok Strait waited south of the strait at a distance of 500 miles off the southwest coast of Western Australia. Sea Shepherd caught the whalers at 37 degrees South, far above the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary

“The chase is on for the next 1000 miles,” said Deckhand Eleanor Lister of Jersey (U.K.).

With the Steve Irwin taking up the resources of three of the Japanese ships the Bob Barker remains clear of a tail and the Brigitte Bardot is clear to scout out the factory ship, having superior speed to the harpoon vessels.

The Sea Shepherd crew have found the Japanese whaling fleet before a single whale has been killed.

“This is going to be a long hard pursuit from here to the coast of Antarctica,” said Captain Watson. “But thanks to these drones, we now have an advantage we have never had before – eyes in the sky.”

Background on the Steve Irwin Drone:
Bayshore Recycling striving to protect and conserve nature

Drone Nicole Montecalvo aids Sea Shepherd in preserving ocean wildlife worldwide.

Woodbridge NJ‐ Bayshore Recycling Corp (BRC) not only strives to protect the planet’s natural resources through recycling but also encourages everyone to help endangered wildlife. To promote and encourage this effort, BRC’s owners recently donated a long‐range drone fitted with cameras and detection equipment to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS). The SSCS is an international non‐profit, direct action marine wildlife conservation organization. SSCS necessitated an additional aerial vehicle that could add to their fleet and expand their capabilities in order to scan hundreds of miles more with each flight in order to assist in finding and documenting whaling ships and other illegal poaching operations. The drone will also assist in helping protect the fleet, her crew and alert them to potential dangers, when their helicopter may not be available for use.

A long‐range drone is defined as an unmanned aerial vehicle that does not require human operation and can fly independently or be operated remotely. The drone named Nicole Montecalvo has assisted in locating Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean previously has assisted in operations against blue fin tuna poaching operations off the coast of Libya. The drone Nicole Montecalvo was delivered on board the vessel Steve Irwin by the Vessel Security Officer during transit to Antarctica while in search of the Japanese flagship, Nisshin Maru. BRC stresses the importance of conserving our planet’s natural habitats. Whether it is saving natural resources, conserving energy, preserving endangered wildlife or recycling household debris—Bayshore rises to the challenge. Together, BRC and the SSCS will fight to save the ocean and its vulnerable inhabitants.