For the past seven years, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) under the leadership of Captain Paul Watson, has launched an annual campaign in the Southern Ocean to prevent the Japanese Whaling fleet from killing whales. Every year, the Japanese send a fleet of ships to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to kill and process for human consumption a large number of whales using a loophole in the International Whaling Treaty which allows for "scientific research."
This season, Sea Shepherd launched Operation No Compromise to once again halt Japanese whaling operations in the Southern Ocean. The campaign to date has been their most successful ever after discovering the whaling fleet as soon as they arrived in Antarctic waters. Last night the Sea Shepherd flagship, the Steve Irwin, located the Japanese factory vessel the Nishan Maru. They are now giving chase and the two other ships in the SSCS fleet are en route to rendevous with the Steve Irwin.
I spoke with Captain Paul Watson on the Steve Irwin by satellite phone.
JC: It would seem that your campaign this year is the most successful ever.
PW: In our seven campaigns this is the best we have had so far. We found them on December 31st which was before they even started whaling. We chased them for 4000 miles. Now we are chasing the factory ship the Nishan Maru.
JC: The Steve Irwin is chasing them now?
PW: Yes as we speak. The Nishan Maru had just started whaling and we intend to stay on them for the rest of the season. The Bob Barker and the Gojira are both on their way to meet us now. The Gojira was in Hobart for engine repairs. This is going to be a very expensive season for the Japanese.
Nishan Maru View From Sea Shepherd Helicopter Nancy Burnet