Militant anti-whaling group claims early victory against Japanese fleet

Source:AFP Published: 2013-1-30 22:03:01

Militant anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd said Wednesday it had zeroed in on the Japanese fleet before a single mammal had been killed, claiming an early victory in their annual Southern Ocean battle.

Sea Shepherd claims to have saved the lives of 4,000 whales over the past eight whaling seasons with its harassment campaigns against the harpooners. The environmentalist group said the Brigitte Bardot, a former ocean racer, had located the harpoon ship Yushin Maru No. 3 at a relatively northern latitude and they were now tailing the fleet.

Its sister ship Bob Barker was pursuing the Nisshin Maru factory vessel, some 250 kilometers away. "The Japanese whaling fleet is now scattered and being chased by the Sea Shepherd fleet," the group said.

Jeff Hansen, co-director of the anti-whaling campaign, said Sea Shepherd's four ships had been guarding approaches to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the Japanese had been unable to pass.

With Sea Shepherd in pursuit, Hansen said the Japanese had just one day left before January, traditionally a peak harpooning month, would pass for the first time without a single whaling death.

Hansen's campaign co-director, Bob Brown said he was "delighted to report that not a single whale has been harmed so far." "The first 24 hours of contact with the whale poachers have been a victory for Sea Shepherd and a complete loss for the Japanese whaling fleet," said Brown, a renowned conservationist and founder of Australia's Greens party.

Brown assumed leadership of the anti-whaling campaign from fugitive Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson earlier this month due to legal issues.

Watson is wanted by Interpol after skipping bail last July in Germany, where he was arrested on Costa Rican charges relating to a high-seas confrontation over shark finning in 2002.


Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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