Sea Shepherd update - whaling shut-down, and skirmishes

February 8 2010
Sea Shepherd Has Shut Down Illegal Japanese Whaling

Steve Irwin Joins Pursuit of Nisshin Maru

The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin joined the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker this morning at 0700 Hours (Sydney time). Both Sea Shepherd ships are now on the tail of the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru.

The Japanese fleet was running fast to the Northeast not knowing that the Steve Irwin was on a course of Southwest coming directly for them. With the fleet doing 15 knots, and the Steve Irwin doing 15 knots, the Steve Irwin and the whaling fleet closed the gap at 30 knots cutting the rendezvous time in half.

The Steve Irwin sat motionless by an iceberg for two hours at a distance of thirty miles to allow the Nisshin Maru to continue towards it. At a distance of only three miles, the Steve Irwin got underway and intercepted the Nisshin Maru.

As the Steve Irwin passed by the Nisshin Maru, the factory ship turned on their water cannons and were surprised when the Steve Irwin responded with a more powerful water cannon that had a couple of the whalers diving for the bridge doors as the frigid water struck their bridge wing deck.

The Steve Irwin is presently tailing the Nisshin Maru a few cable lengths and slightly to the port side of the factory ship. Across from the Steve Irwin, the Bob Barker is tailing the Nisshin Maru slightly to the starboard side.

Following in the wake of the Nisshin Maru are the Japanese vessels Shonan Maru 2, Yushin Maru 1 and Yushin Maru 2. There is no sign of the Yushin Maru 3.

Six ships, two from Sea Shepherd and four vessels from the Japanese fleet, are heading at full speed northeastwardly.

"Not a single whale has died since the Bob Barker intercepted the fleet at 0100 Hours on February 6th. It is now the third day that the whaling fleet has been unable to kill a whale. We intend to turn these three whaling free days into three whaling free weeks," said Captain Paul Watson. "I am confident that once again we will severely cut their kill quotas and we will once again negate their profits."

The Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker have enough fuel to pursue the whaling fleet for another month.

"It does not matter where they go, east or west along the Antarctic Coast," said Steve Irwin 1st Officer Locky MacLean. "We intend to stick to their rear like glue and we will not allow a single whale to be loaded onto the decks of that foul floating abattoir."

There are 41 crew (29 men and 12 women) on board the Steve Irwin from Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Estonia, France, Japan, Hungary, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States (15 nationalities).

There are 30 (6 women and 24 men) crew on board the Bob Barker from Australia, New Zealand, United States, Sweden, United Kingdom, and South Africa (6 nationalities).

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February 09, 2010
Sea Shepherd Escorts Whaling Fleet Out of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary

The Sea Shepherd ships Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker have successfully escorted the Japanese whaling fleet out of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

After repeated orders from Sea Shepherd to desist their illegal activities and remove themselves from the Southern Ocean, the Nisshin Maru, Yushin Maru, Yushin Maru #2 and Shonan Maru #2 have crossed north of sixty degrees and continue to head North by Northwest.

“We did not actually expect them to follow our orders to quit the Whale Sanctuary but they have indeed exited and are now running outside the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary”, Said Captain Paul Watson, “They have not killed a single whale since February 5th. We intend to turn four whaling free days into weeks.”

At 0500 Hours on February 7th the Nisshin Maru was intercepted by the Steve Irwin at 64 Degrees 2 Minutes South and 80 Degrees 11 Minutes East. The whaling fleet then ran Northeast for 95 miles on a course of 060 Degrees and then changed course at 1600 Hours on February 7th to 260 Degrees began to run Northwest for 260 miles. The whaling fleet left the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary at 1830 Hours (Sydney Time) at 60 Degrees South and 77 Degrees East. (February 9th, 2010)

The Sea Shepherd ships Steve Irwin and Bob Barker continue to chase the Japanese whaling fleet.

“We intend to keep on their tail and to prevent any whaling operations for as long as our fuel reserves last and that should be for another few weeks at least,” Said Bob Barker captain Chuck Swift.

The Sea Shepherd ships are with the entire whaling fleet except the Yushin Maru #3. That ship has not been seen since the collision with the Bob Barker on February 6th.

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February 11 2010
Five-Hour Battle At the Gateway of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary

A battle erupted between the Sea Shepherd ships Bob Barker and Steve Irwin and the Japanese whaling fleet when the whalers ignored a warning from Sea Shepherd to not reenter the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.

The Japanese fleet was escorted out of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary at 1530 Hours on Tuesday, February 9th. They left the Sanctuary at 60 Degrees South and 76 Degrees and 36 Minutes East.

The fleet fled north on a course of 310 Degrees to the position of 57 Degrees 14 Minutes South and 69 Degrees 6 minutes East and then turned back one hundred and eighty degrees and headed back towards the Sanctuary on a course of 230 at 1700 Hours on February 10th.

At 1650 on Thursday, February 11th the Japanese fleet reentered the Whale Sanctuary at 60 Degrees South and 62 Degrees East.

As the Japanese fleet reentered the Whale Sanctuary, the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin pulled up alongside the Nisshin Maru to deliver a message by loudspeaker in Japanese warning them not to enter the Whale Sanctuary. The Nisshin Maru responded with water cannon and LRAD fire. The Steve Irwin returned water cannon fire.

The Steve Irwin then attempted to launch a helicopter when the three harpoon vessels moved in with water cannons and LRADs blazing in an attempt to destroy the helicopter on the deck. The Bob Barker moved into position to block the harpoon vessels and the Steve Irwin was forced to fire warning flares in front of the harpoon vessels to force them to back off.

The six ships, four whaler and two conservation vessels, engaged for over five hours. There were many near misses but no collisions. There were no injuries.

A Sea Shepherd Delta launched from the Steve Irwin annoyed the harpoon vessels with rotten butter bomb attacks.

All ships have backed off and the convoy of whalers and anti-whalers continues in a Southwestern direction into the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

“Tomorrow marks a full week that not a whale has been killed,” said Captain Paul Watson. “Our goal now is to make it two weeks and then three weeks. We will not tolerate the death of a single whale. If they attempt to kill and transfer a whale to the Nisshin Maru there will be inevitable collisions, because we will neither move out of harms way nor cease blocking the slipway. That I can promise.”