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BROCHURE RACK

Sea Shepherd leaves Antarctica.

10/02/2009 14:19:08
whales/october_2009/sea_shepherd_chase

Sea Shepherd deck crew members ready a fast boat aboard the M/V Steve Irwin to pursue Japan's harpoon whaling vessel the Yushin Maru No. 2. photo credit: Adam Lau/Sea Shepherd

February 2009. The Sea Shepherd ship the Steve Irwin and her crew have withdrawn from the Japanese whaling fleet to begin preparations to return with a faster and longer range ship.

"I have said always said that we would do everything we can short of hurting people to end illegal whaling in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary," said Captain Paul Watson. "We have done everything we could with the resources available to us this year. We have shut down their illegal operations for over a month in total. We have cost them money and we have saved the lives of a good many whales. And although we are willing to take the risks required, even to our own lives, I am not prepared to do to the Japanese whalers what they do to the whales. The escalating violence by the whalers will result in some serious injuries and possibly fatalities if this confrontation continues to escalate."

Operating at a disadvantage
Captain Watson said that he has been operating at a disadvantage against three harpoon boats that are superior in speed and manoeuvrability to the Steve Irwin.

"We need to block those deadly harpoons and we need to outrun these hunter killer ships and to do that I need a ship that is as fast as they are and I intend to get one and I intend to return next year," he said. "We will never stop intervening against their illegal whaling operations and we will never stop harassing them, blockading them and costing them money. I intend to be their on-going nightmare every year until they stop their horrific and unlawful slaughter of the great whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary."

2000 mile chase
This year the crew of the Steve Irwin pursued the Japanese fleet from December 18th until January 7th for over 2,000 miles, shutting down their operations for a month. The crew returned and relocated the fleet on February 1st and pursued them for another 9 days during which time the whalers were only able to kill five whales. A pursuit of the Yushin Maru No.2 by the Steve Irwin on December 20th caused ice damage to the prop of the whaling ship and forced them out of operation for a month and a half.

Two minor collissions
Confrontations between the Steve Irwin and the whaling fleet have resulted in numerous close calls and two collisions causing minor damage. The whaling fleet this year deployed Long Range Acoustical Devices (LRAD's) and high powered water cannons against the Sea Shepherd crew. No whalers were injured. Three members of the Steve Irwin's crew were injured with one man requiring five stitches above his left eye after being hit by a blast from the LRAD and knocked over. Captain Paul Watson is dismissive of Japanese accusations that Sea Shepherd deliberately rammed their whaling ships.

"Our story will be told on a weekly series on Animal Planet with the show Whale Wars. People can watch and judge for themselves. The camera is the most powerful weapon in the world and we intend to demonstrate that power."

Read the comments about this article and leave your own comment

Cap. Watson

I believe in saving whales, but disagree with your way of doing it. You have no regard for your crew. Camera and film don't lie. You take advantage of your inexperienced crew and risk their lives without regard. I thank you for your TV program. I will watch which organiztions I donate to and will not buy products that support your efforts.

Posted by: amy k | 29 May 2009 23:20:23

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