Sea Shepherd Ship Steve Irwin Engages Japanese Factory Ship Nisshin Maru In Whale Sanctuary

Aboard the M/Y Steve Irwin Southern Oceans ---The crew on the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin engaged in a confrontation with the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru this morning between 0800 and 1000 Hours.

The Nisshin Maru cannot outrun the Steve Irwin. After a 12 hour chase the Sea Shepherd ship closed the gap and passed alongside the Nisshin Maru.

The crew deployed over two dozen bottles of rotten butter sending a stench throughout the whale killing ship that will remain for days. The crew also threw packets of a slippery chemical onto the deck of the Nisshin Maru. This will make it very difficult to cut up whales. The substance becomes even more slippery with water so it will be difficult to wash it off the decks.

"I guess we can call this non-violent chemical warfare," said Captain Paul Watson. "We only use organic, non-toxic materials designed to harass and obstruct illegal whaling operations."

Four armed Japanese Coast Guard officers clearly identified in their uniforms videotaped the confrontation.

The Captain of the Nisshin Maru played a tape over and over again with a woman's voice saying "Warning, warning, this is the Nisshin Maru captain. Stop your destructive actions immediately. If you dare to board this vessel you will be taken into custody and restrained as illegal intruders under Japanese law."

Captain Paul Watson radioed the Nisshin Maru to inform them that they had no authority in the Australian Antarctic Territory. Captain Watson ordered the Japanese captain to cease all whaling operations and to comply with the Australian Federal Court ruling that prohibits the Japanese whaling fleet from killing whales in the Australian Antarctic Territorial waters.     

The confrontation took place at 63 Degrees 17 Minutes South and 126 Degrees and 20 minutes east. This is 175 miles off the Banzare Coast inside the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone.

The Steve Irwin has fallen half a mile off to the starboard side of the Nisshin Maru.

"It stinks too bad to remain any closer," said Todd Emko 32, of New York City.

Not a single whale has been killed since the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin returned to harass the Japanese whaling fleet in the Australian Whale Sanctuary.

"They will not be getting their quota this year and that is a certainty," said Jeff Hanson 35, from Fremantle, Western Australia. "In fact I don't think they will be getting half their quota."

In total the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has shut down illegal Japanese whaling operations for over four and a half weeks.