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Is Japan Sending Vessels To Harass The Sea Shepherd?

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When South Park lampooned the Sea Shepherd back in October, they included a hilarious bit where the crew of Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch blocked the MV Steve Irwin from blocking the Japanese whaling fleet.

I think Japan was paying close attention to this strategy.

The fisheries ministry revealed yesterday that Japan was sending two vessels to “monitor” the Sea Shepherd fleet. The country has been making a hard case against the anti-whaling organization — appealing directly to Australian, New Zealand, and Dutch governments (under whose flag the MV Steve Irwin is registered) to end what they deem to be hostile confrontations.

In light of these new ships being sent to keep an eye on things, Sea Shepherd media rep Amy Baird says the move shows the Japanese government is getting frustrated.

“We just take that as evidence that we’re really causing an impact and are being successful down there if they’re willing to take that extra step to stop us,” she told ABC News. “Clearly we are having an impact and costing them a lot of money and getting more and more frustrating for them.”

I’m not sure anyone would be surprised if these two monitoring vessels conveniently put themselves between the Sea Shepherd and the whaling fleet. In fact, if Japan does decide to take defensive measures with ships positioned to protect the fleet, the SS may find interrupting hunts to be a bit more challenging. It will be interesting to see what type of vessels are en route to challenge the Irwin and Ady Gil — especially when it comes to keeping up with the latter.

Stay tuned.

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