Japanese Whaling Fleet on the Run Again - 48 Hours Without Whaling

As soon as the Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat arrived on the scene on the morning of the 8th of January, the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru began to run. She is still running and is now 300 miles to the west of the position the Sea Shepherd crew found her. She has also not processed any whales for over 48 hours.

Captain Paul Watson believes that the Nisshin Maru and the Oriental Bluebird are attempting to rendezvous to continue off-loading whale meat from the factory ship to the supply ship for transport back to Japan. The ships were in the process of transferring cargo when the Farley Mowat arrived. The Nisshin Maru slipped the mooring lines attached to the Oriental Bluebird and began to flee when the Farley Mowat was spotted. The Captain of the Nisshin Maru then collided with the nearby Arctic Sunrise causing damage to the Greenpeace ship. The Nisshin Maru fled north and the Oriental Bluebird fled northeast.

The Farley Mowat found the Oriental Bluebird on the morning of the 9th of January. The supply boat had her fenders out and appeared to be waiting to meet up with the Nisshin Maru to continue to transfer whale meat.

Captain Paul Watson ordered the Oriental Bluebird out of the Whale Sanctuary and sideswiped the vessel with the Farley Mowat.

"We hit her," said Captain Watson. "We hit her because she is a whale meat smuggler illegally loading contraband whale meat in the Whale Sanctuary. We acted in accordance with the World Charter for Nature to uphold international conservation laws protecting the whales. This ship has no business down here. We believe our actions this morning disrupted the plans by the Nisshin Maru to transfer their cargo. We have no apologies."

The Japanese whaling fleet has lost almost two weeks of whaling time so far this season.

There is no doubt that the Japanese fleet is running from the Sea Shepherd crew. The fleet left Commonwealth Bay and ran north for 3 days as the Farley Mowat first approached their position. When the Farley Mowat caught up and intercepted the fleet on December 25, the whalers ran over 3,000 miles to the west.

When the Farley Mowat caught up again on January 8, the whalers began to run again another 300 miles west and they are still running at 14 knots.

The Sea Shepherd crew have disrupted operations three times and forced the ship to run each time.

Captain Watson is confident that if he can secure a faster ship that he will be able to return next year to prevent the Japanese fleet from killing 50 humpbacks and 50 fins and another 1,000 piked whales.

"We have not seen one whale killed down here nor do we intend to. I can promise that no Sea Shepherd ship will stand by and watch the murder of a whale. This has never happened and it will never happen. We are down here to stop whaling not to watch it." said Captain Watson.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been stopping outlaw whalers since 1979 and in that time has sunk nine illegal whaling ships without ever causing a single injury to any whaler.

In response to criticisms that he is violating the rules of the road, Captain Watson noted, "That Japanese have been in clear violation of these rules of the road (in addition to violating many international laws) and no one seems to be overly concerned with their behaviour. These ruthless, murdering cowards must be stopped and it is a disgrace that non-governmental organizations have to come down to these waters to do the work of governments."

The Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat continues to pursue the Japanese fleet westward across the bottom of the Indian Ocean. It is a bizarre race: One whaling factory ship, four harpoon vessels, one spotting vessel, one supply vessel, two Greenpeace ships, and a Sea Shepherd ship. Ten ships in total in a struggle over the lives of the great whales.

"This is the greatest whale story since Moby Dick," said Captain Watson. "Killers and defenders - a classic struggle between life and death, good and evil. This has the making of a great epic. The question is who will win? Life or death? Good or evil? Whale defenders or whale killers? I am thrilled to be on the side of the angels and of the leviathans."