Shepherd Catches Japanese Poaching Fleet with Dead Whale in Australian Sanctuary
After five weeks
of patrolling the Southern Ocean, Sea Shepherd has located the Japanese
whale poachers’ factory whaling vessel in the Australian Whale Sanctuary
with a dead minke whale on its flensing deck, the first to be documented
since the International Court of Justice ruled against their whaling operations
in the Antarctic in 2014.
The Nisshin Maru
was spotted by the helicopter of Sea Shepherd’s MY Steve Irwin at
12:34AM GMT (11:34AM AEDT) at a position of 64 57.6S - 085 09.6E, within
the Australian Whale Sanctuary. When the helicopter approached, the Nisshin
Maru crew scrambled to hide the slaughtered whale with a tarp, while the
fleet’s harpoon ships Yushin Maru and Yushin Maru #2 quickly covered
killers from the Nisshin Maru were caught red-handed slaughtering whales
in the Australian Whale sanctuary,” says Captain Adam Meyerson of
the Ocean Warrior, Sea Shepherd’s newest Southern Ocean patrol ship.
“The Steve Irwin has shut down their illegal operations and caught
them trying to hide the evidence."
These are the
first photographs documenting the Japanese whaling fleet’s killing
of whales since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled their whaling
program illegal in 2014 and the Australian Federal Court found the Japanese
whaling industry in contempt for killing protected whales in the Australian
Whale Sanctuary. Sea Shepherd’s discovery of the factory ship and
the slaughtered whale comes just a day after Japan’s Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe was in Australia on an official state visit.
Jeff Hansen, Managing
Director of Sea Shepherd Australia stated, "The lack of action by the
Turnbull government while whales are being killed in Australian waters just
a day after Japan's Prime Minister was on a state visit in Australia shows
that the government has no spine when it comes to protecting the wishes
of Australians to defend the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary."
helicopter has relayed the whaling fleet's position to the MY Steve Irwin,
now on an intercept course with the factory ship. No more whales will be
that the Japanese crew went to cover up their harpoons and the dead minke
whale on deck just shows that they know what they’re doing is wrong,”
says Captain Wyanda Lublink of the MY Steve Irwin. “They know they
are in contempt of the ruling of the International Court of Justice and
the Australian Federal Court. How can the Australian government ignore these
actions when the majority of Australians condemn what they are doing?”