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Sea Shepherd Finds and Engages the Japanese Whaling Fleet!!!!

We have them!

The crew of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ship, the Steve Irwin, have found the Japanese whaling fleet, less than a week after leaving Hobart, Tasmania. The Yushin Maru # 2 was caught unaware today in dense fog and in heavy ice. The Sea Shepherd crew immediately launched a strike on the vessel with rotten butter bombs.

The Japanese whalers have been caught hunting whales inside the Australian Antarctic territorial waters in blatant contempt of a January 2008 Australian Federal Court Order prohibiting them from whaling in the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone.

Sea Shepherd intends to enforce this Order and other international conservation laws protecting endangered whale species in an established whale sanctuary in violation of the international moratorium on commercial whaling. We do so in accordance with the principles established by the United Nations World Charter for Nature.

The Japanese harpoon whaling vessel the
Yushin Maru No. 2
crosses the bow of
Sea Shepherd's M/V Steve Irwin in Antarctica's
Southern Ocean on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008.
Photo by Adam Lau/Sea Shepherd

Sea Shepherd appeals to the government of Australia to grant us permission to shut down the illegal operations of the Japanese whaling fleet in Australian territorial waters. The Australian citizens onboard the Steve Irwin intend to enforce Australian law against the illegal activities of the Japanese invasion force in these waters.

"There is a dotted line on the chart that clearly defines these waters as being under the economic authority of the government of Australia," said Captain Paul Watson, Founder and President of Sea Shepherd. "There are some in the Australian government who argue that Japan does not recognize Australian authority and therefore nothing can be done. Australians should rejoice that representatives of their government in 1942 did not give in so easily when the Japanese refused to recognize the sovereignty of Australia. If they had, there would be Japanese whaling bases in Australia today."

"It was a relatively simple matter to find them. We just had to put ourselves in their shoes. They expected us to begin our search at the Eastern side of the Ross Sea where they normally begin their whaling. We therefore made every indication that we were heading towards the Eastern side, to an area to the Southeast of New Zealand. Instead, we began our search at the Western side, to the Southwest of Tasmania. We even posted a false report of flying over and filming McQuarie Island to lead them astray, and it worked. At the end of the day, our hunch paid off, and they were exactly where we thought they would be -- in an area they were not supposed to be in. They are whaling in heavy ice conditions. Perhaps in an effort to keep themselves hidden, they have been operating in areas between the ice pack and heavy ice drifts. We are now here to stop them."

Sea Shepherd deck crew members ready a fast boat aboard the
M/V Steve Irwin to pursue the Japan's harpoon whaling vessel.
Photo by Adam Lau/Sea Shepherd

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