A Hot Crowded Pursuit in Cold Lonely Waters

The last day that a whale died was on January 6th, 2008. That was 15 days ago. For two weeks the entire Japanese whaling fleet has been on the run and they are continuing to run.

The Greenpeace ship Esperanza and the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin have pursued the Japanese fleet for thousands of miles at enormous expense to all sides. As the Steve Irwin chases the fleet, the Japanese have commissioned a ship exclusively to tail the Steve Irwin. It is the vessel Fukoyoshi Maru No. 68.

The crew of the Steve Irwin have boarded the harpoon killer boat Yushin Maru No. 2 and attacked it twice with stink bombs. The stench makes it nearly impossible to work outside on the deck for days.

The Japanese whaling fleet continues to run and it is heading eastward. Seven ships in the whaling fleet plus a mysterious spy ship. Added to this are the two whale defending ships from Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace. And somewhere, no one knows exactly where, the Australian Customs and Fisheries Patrol vessel Oceanic Viking is steaming amongst the icebergs on a mission to monitor the Japanese fleet. Which means that in total there are eleven ships racing eastward along the coast of Antarctica.

The Japanese fleet does not dare to stop as long as the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin is approaching closer and closer each day.

"While they are running they can keep a distance between us," said Captain Paul Watson. "But once they stop and attempt to kill whales we will be on them. The whalers have a choice, run from us or engage us. Either way, the whales are being spared."

The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin is prepared to chase the Japanese fleet for weeks if need be to keep them from illegally targeting whales.