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Japanese Supply Vessel Agrees to Leave the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary

January 13, 2011 - 1200 hours AEST
The Southern Ocean - 60 degrees 47 minutes south, 178 degrees and 58 minutes west.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has advised the Panamanian registered Sun Laurel tanker to leave the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Captain Locky MacLean of the Gojira has advised the Sun Laurel that refueling vessels in the Southern Ocean below 60 degrees latitude is unlawful, especially with heavy fuel, and is a clear violation of the Antarctic Treaty.

The captain of the Sun Laurel has agreed to leave the Sanctuary and is heading north towards the 60 degree south of latitude line. The Steve Irwin and the Gojira are escorting the Sun Laurel out of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The Sun Laurel has to travel fifty more miles before passing north of 60 degrees.

The captain of the Sun Laurel has confirmed that he has not transferred any supplies or refueled any of the illegal whaling vessels. This means that as long as Sea Shepherd’s ships continue to prevent any transfer of fuel and supplies, the Japanese whaling fleet will not be able to extend their killing season beyond the first week in February. The Japanese fleet was three weeks late arriving to the Southern Ocean; the Sea Shepherd ships found them before they even began whaling.

The Sea Shepherd ships have been chasing the Nisshin Maru factory ship for two weeks. Two of the three illegal harpoon vessels have been tailing the Sea Shepherd ships for two weeks and have not killed any whales. There is reason to believe that the third harpoon vessel has not taken any whales because it appears to be traveling with the Nisshin Maru to avoid being tracked down by Sea Shepherd.

The Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker will escort the Sun Laurel supply vessel to prevent refueling, and the Gojira will break off within a few hours to resume the hunt for the Nisshin Maru.

Sea Shepherd has shut down all whaling operations for two weeks as of today.

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