In the 48 hours following Sea Shepherd’s discovery of a Japanese whaling vessel poaching in the Australian Whale Sanctuary, images of the harpooned minke whale on its deck have gone viral, generating international outrage, as well as criticism from the Australian government.
Photographs and video footage taken from the helicopter of Sea Shepherd’s MV Steve Irwin show the crew of the Nisshin Maru factory ship hastily concealing the slaughtered whale with a tarp, while the crew of the nearby Yushin Maru scrambled to cover their harpoon guns. But the damage was already done. “Once again Sea Shepherd caught the Japanese whale poachers with blood on their hands,” said Sea Shepherd Global Director, Captain Alex Cornelissen. The images immediately went viral on Twitter and Facebook, reaching over 4.5 million views by Tuesday morning, and has been picked up by all major international press outlets in the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia/New Zealand.
After five weeks of patrolling the Southern Ocean, Sea Shepherd has located the Japanese whale poachers’ factory whaling vessel in the Australian Whale Sanctuary with a dead minke whale on its flensing deck, the first to be documented since the International Court of Justice ruled against their whaling operations in the Antarctic in 2014.
The Nisshin Maru was spotted by the helicopter of Sea Shepherd’s MY Steve Irwin at 12:34AM GMT (11:34AM AEDT) at a position of 64 57.6S - 085 09.6E, within the Australian Whale Sanctuary. When the helicopter approached, the Nisshin Maru crew scrambled to hide the slaughtered whale with a tarp, while the fleet’s harpoon ships Yushin Maru and Yushin Maru #2quickly covered their harpoons.
We are now just over a month into our 11th Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign, Operation Nemesis, with the MY Steve Irwin and the Ocean Warrior currently patrolling the Southern Ocean Sanctuary to stop illegal whaling.
After just three weeks, on December 22nd the Ocean Warrior discovered one of the Japanese whaling fleet’s harpoon ships hiding behind an iceberg. Caught with its harpoon uncovered, the Yushin Maru was clearly in the middle of hunting for their self-allocated 333 minke whales. Interrupted from its hunt, the harpoon vessel tried trailing the Ocean Warrior instead, but was quickly outrun by Sea Shepherd’s fast new ship, a first in any Southern Ocean campaigns.
Friday, December 23, 2016 – Yesterday at approximately 6:40pm GMT, Sea Shepherd’s patrol vessel the Ocean Warrior intercepted one of the harpoon ships of the Japanese whale-poaching fleet in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
"The crews of the Ocean Warrior and the MV Steve Irwin have been battling through thick fog and ice to protect the whales in the Australian whale sanctuary," said Captain Adam Meyerson of the Ocean Warrior. "The Yushin Maru was hiding behind an iceberg and came out on a collision course."
Jessie Treverton - the U.K-based Captain and Cove Guardian leader for Sea Shepherd's fight against the slaughter and capture of dolphins - was denied entry to Japan today.
Treverton was previously documenting and defending the dolphins in Taiji, Japan, since September as part of Sea Shepherd's annual Operation Infinite Patience campaign. She left Japan in late November to attend a previous commitment in the Danish Faroe Islands.
Upon her return to Japan today, Treverton was stopped at the immigration center at Osaka Kansai airport where she was questioned, searched and denied entry to the country.
After final preparations in Australia, two Sea Shepherd vessels are now on their way to the Southern Ocean to intercept the Japanese whaling fleet in a bid stop their slaughter of Minke whales.
The marine conservation organization's flagship vessel the Steve Irwin departed Saturday from Seaworks, Williamstown in Melbourne, followed by its fast new patrol vessel the Ocean Warrior, which departed from Hobart, Tasmania on Sunday.
They're now on their way to the vast Southern Ocean in an effort to prevent the Japanese whaling fleet, which left Japan on November 18th, from killing its self-allocated quota of 333 Minke whales.
Friday, November 25th, the Danish court in Tórshavn, Faroe Islands found Sea Shepherd Captain Jessie Treverton of the UK guilty of breaching Faroese animal welfare laws by causing 'unnecessary suffering' to a pod of dolphins.
Each year over 800 pilot whales and other small cetaceans are regularly slaughtered in the Faroe Islands in a practice known as the grindadráp, which Sea Shepherd has actively opposed since the 1980s.
The crew of the Sea Shepherd ship, M/Y Bob Barker, has assisted Gabonese authorities in the arrest of two illegal fishing pirogues operating in waters off the coast of Gabon, Central West Africa.
The arrests followed a coordinated effort between the Marine Nationale (Gabonese Navy), the ANPA (Fisheries Enforcement Agency) and Sea Shepherd to secure the Gabonese border with the Republic of Congo (Congo) from incursions made by illegal fishing vessels.
The marine conservation group Sea Shepherd Global is sending its vessels down to the Southern Ocean this December on its 11th direct-action whale defense campaign.
A 2014 landmark ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague declared the Japanese whaling program in the Antarctic not scientific in nature, despite their claims of hunting the whales for scientific research. The Japanese were also found in contempt of the Australian Federal Court for killing protected whales in the Australia Whale Sanctuary.
For the third time this year, pilot whales have been slaughtered in the Danish Faroe Islands. The ordeal began at 7am today when a pod of 40 pilot whales was reported to local authorities off Skálatoftir, on the island of Borðoy. The pod was then driven by 12 Faroese boats to Hvannasund for slaughter.
Although most of the pod was able to escape, Faroese media has confirmed nine whales were killed. They were forced to beach and had blunt hooks beaten into their blowholes to drag them onto the sand where locals crudely cut their spinal cord resulting in a stressful and drawn-out death.