While the Japanese whaling fleet have confirmed their intention to return to the southern ocean whale sanctuary, to slaughter entire families of migrating whales, sea shepherd conservation society are preparing to stop them at all costs.
With our 4 ships, Sea Shepherd will once again follow the Japanese whaling fleet down to the Southern Ocean, and we are hell bent on stopping the whalers from taking the lives of any whales.
For the past 8 years, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have actively opposed the Japanese whaling fleet down in the Southern Ocean. Every year making it more and more difficult for the whaling fleet to be successful in their attempt to slaughter over 1,000 whales.
There has been an international ban on commercial whaling since 1986, but the Japanese continue to abuse a provision in the ban that allows them to hunt whales under “scientific research”. The whaling fleet is operated by a Japanese establishment, the ICR (Institute of Cetacean Research), which was set up in 1987 – one year after the international whaling ban was put in place.
They claim to research migration patterns, population numbers, the role of whales in the Antarctic eco-system and how environment changes affect whales. None of these reasons justify actually taking the lives of hundreds of whales every year, especially in a whale sanctuary.
Believing and acting strongly on aggressive non-violent tactics, Sea Shepherd will intervene in any way they can to accomplish their own goal: making certain no whales get killed in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
As we near our next campaign which will start in December and as the southern ocean warms and Whales start to migrate south for the Antarctic summer, Sea Shepherd crews prepare their ships for battle.
The bottom line is, we have to be prepared for anything. As the Southern Ocean campaign goes, our goal is to find the Factory Vessel, the Nisshin Maru. The factory vessel is the ship to where every Whale is transferred after it’s been harpooned. It’s the ship on which all whales are butchered, processed and frozen until the Whaling Fleet return back to Japan and the meat is sold for profit. The factory ship is our goal.
The Nissian Maru has a slipway on the stern (the back of the ship), which is how the whaling fleet transfer whales from harpoon ships to the factory ship. If one of Sea Shepherd’s ships can get behind the Nisshin Maru and stay there to block the slipway, the whaling fleet cannot transfer whales, and therefore the whaling season is over for them. But that’s only the simple part. The hard part is finding and getting to the Nisshin Maru.
It’s not the easiest thing in the world for Sea Shepherd to find the whaling fleet’s one factory ship when it’s surrounded by 6 other ships trying to keep Sea Shepherd away.
During past campaigns, we’ve had extreme confrontations with the whaling fleet. Between flash-bang grenades, water cannons and ramming our ships they have no fear in showing Sea Shepherd extreme rage when we find the Nisshin Maru. During the 2009 anti-whaling campaign a small intercept vessel, The Ady Gil, working in part with Sea Shepherd to find the Factory ship was rammed and sunk by the Whaling Fleet’s security vessel, the Shonan Maru.
Now, the entire crew’s main focus is the huge task of preparing our ships for the Antarctic seas and for protection against the whaling fleet, and it isn’t an easy job. All crew members have been working very hard in order to insure the ships are complete for campaign by December.
While myself and the others on the deck team focus on repairing the ship, taking measures to protect her from the harsh weather and encounters with the whaling fleet, preparing and ensuring that the small fast boats are working well and ready for action. The engineers are working on preparing the fundamentals of our ship’s smooth running, whilst the Galley are working hard to collect a sufficient amount of food to last us through 3 months of campaign and the aviation team working for the helicopter’s participation. It’s a huge job and everything needs extreme consideration and care.
The Sea Shepherd ships are currently docked in different places all over Australia. The ship on which I’m crew, the Steve Irwin, is in Melbourne, while the Bob Barker is in Sydney, the Brigitte Bardot is in transit and the Sam Simon is in an un-disclosed location.
Soon, we’ll be leaving for campaign. Four ships and 130 dedicated volunteers, all on a mission to save whales.