It’s no secret that Japan’s strategy of assigning a vessel to track the Sea Shepherd has proved to be a great success. Since launching Operation Waltzing Matilda in early December, Paul Watson and his crew have had great difficulty shaking the tail of the Shonan Maru #2 and locating the Japanese whaling fleet. Having someone radio their position at all times to keep the whalers one step ahead of them has been effective — so much so, that the Steve Irwin took the past three days to regroup and refuel back in port in Hobart, Tasmania.
“Now the task is to refuel and slip past them and back into the Southern Ocean to find the main body of the whaling fleet,” Watson wrote on his blog.
In an encouraging show of support, a private vessel set out yesterday to search for the Shonan Maru #2 off of the Australian EEZ just south of Hobart. “The vessel is crewed by 6 people and has no links to any conservation group,” an email we received read. “They are just 6 guys who want to help.”
“The boat intends to find the Shonan Maru and then follow her and relay her co-ordinates on twitter so that the Shonan Maru cannot sneak up on the Steve Irwin when she leaves port. The boat intends to only monitor the Shonan Maru #2 however should the Shonan Maru attack the crew is prepared to defend the boat and will not back down.”
According to the latest Twitter updates, the Steve Irwin has left port and the crew of the unnamed vessel have stepped up their efforts to locate the SM2. Since we know the Japanese also used aircraft in their initial spotting of the SS leaving port, we wouldn’t be surprised if something similar occurs yet again. Either way, as Watson pointed out in an earlier post, such tactics are costing the Japanese whaling fleet a great deal of cash. “We have cut their quotas and stolen their profits for three years in a row and I intend to make it a fourth,” he wrote.
Check out a recent video of the Ady Gil getting in the way of the Shonan Maru #2 below: