by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Causes, People
Tags: .
Photo: Laurens De Groot / Sea Shepherd


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:

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • sea shepherd supporter

    This is great news!!! Once Sea Shepherd finds those whalers it’s over!!! They will be shut down for good!!! :-)

    Give them Hell Sea Shepherd!!!

    • Mick

      Really? SS “found” the ICR ships last year, the year before, the year before that and so on. However, it’s not “over”. The ICR continues to harvest whales. Norway, Iceland, Greenland, America and Russia continue to harvest whales as well. With no interference from SS, I might add.

      • Stuart

        Buy them a ship or 2 to help out with that, they are only so many with a limited amount of resources. I was not aware that America still did whale hunting.

  • Michael Raymer

    Best of luck and kudos to the volunteers of the other boat. I hope it works out.

  • Mick


    Yes indeed, America continues to hunt whales. Natives in Alaska kill an average of 50 endangered bowhead whales a year. In 2009 Iceland killed 150 endangered Fin whales. I believe Japan killed one Fin whale in the 2008/2009 whaling season in the SO. The Minke whales that Japan hunts are far from endangered. There are between 200,000 to 700,000 of them. They have a pregnancy rate of around 60%. Japan is taking less than 1% of the population. So they won’t be disappearing anytime soon.

    • Rolf Larsen

      Japans quota this year includes Minke, Fin, and 50 Humpbacks.. so yes, they are targeting endangered species…

      • Mick

        Humpback whales are not endangered. They are, in fact, listed as “least concern”. I do believe Fin whales are endangered, however. As I said I believe the ICR took one out of a quota of 50. However, Iceland killed 150 Fin whales. Perhaps watson should spend his limited resources attacking Iceland’s whaling ships. Clearly they are a greater threat to endangered Fin whales than Japan is. For that matter, perhaps he should try to save some endangered Bowhead whales from American whale hunters.

      • sid cunha

        Hi Rolf.Please contact me re whaling story.Regards Sid Cunha e mail address

  • From MN, with hope…

    Sea Shepherd has lost the tail! Gail force wind and major waves helped the Steve Irwin slip past the security ship

  • Adri

    Mick, why do whales have to be endangered to be worth protecting? Humans are overpopulating the planet, but we try to preserve their lives when we can. I am not equating whales and humans, but they are both intelligent animals and members of each species are unique individuals.

    • Mick

      If your purpose is to protect whales. It would seem wise to use your limited resources protecting the whales that were in the most danger of extinction. What is the point of protecting plentiful Minke whales while other, less numerous, species of whales go extinct?

  • Mike

    No whale species were endangered before human beings hunted them to near extinction. The only reason Minkes are not endangered is because they were seen as too small to bother with. Given humanity’s track record of greed and arrogance, it would not take too long for Minkes to follow that same fate.

    If Japan could get away with it, they would take every last whale of any species. They are doing exactly that with tuna now.

    Also – the minkes are not being ‘harvested’, they are being brutaly tortured to death. That alone should be reason enough for this disgusting practice be stopped.

    • Mick

      “No whale species were endangered before human beings hunted them to near extinction.”

      I believe that to be correct. However, it was American and European whale hunters that hunted the whales to near extinction. For OIL, I might add.

      “If Japan could get away with it, they would take every last whale of any species.”

      Is that a fact? And you know this how? It’s ridiculous statements such as this that makes it impossible for reasonable people to take SS and other “enviromentalists” seriously.

      Whales are being “tortured” to death? Please, just more mindless rhetoric. If the anti-whalers actually had FACTS or LOGIC to back-up their position instead of emotional rhetoric like this, then perhaps people might actually listen to what they have to say.

      • Allen

        I think it is perfectly reasonable to say that shooting a living, feeling being with a harpoon and then dragging her through the water before hauling her onto a ship and cutting her apart while she is still conscious, alive and breathing is akin to torturous. It is ridiculous to say otherwise. They are causing needless suffering and death for money. They are causing needless environmental destruction for money. They are killing a part of our world for their own profits. Reasonable people of all walks of life (environmentalists, hippies, conservatives, liberals, whites, blacks, Japanese, etc.) are upset about this and rightfully so. The only people who are not upset about this are the ones who think the pursuit of profits outweigh common decency.

      • herwin

        the only reason (excuse is a better word) for whaling according to the japanese is because its part of their culture (which btw is a humbug reason, its all about big money).
        i would say thats a very sentimental and emotional reason on the part of the japanese.
        when we see how japan has dealt with other endangered animals such as elephants and ivory, highly endangered seaturtles for the production of haircombs and other luxury products, cooking a siberian tiger in a cooking program just a couple of years ago,and how japan never joined the international community in protecting these and other endangered animals only if the pressure gets too big japan seems to make reluctantly some protection measurements, i would say that it is pure logic to say that japan would kill any whales until near extinction, just as the once abundad tuna and other marine species.
        when it can take half an hour to up to a full hour for a whale to die, its pretty accurate to say that whales are tortured to death.
        all in all the prowhaler fans are the ones that are sentimental and use emotional rethoric like the culture excuse.

      • Mick


        As I said, just baseless emotional rhetoric.


        The best you can say is; it’s POSSIBLE Japan might hunt whales into extinction. However, Americans and Europeans very nearly DID hunt whales to extinction. The North Atlantic Right whale population is still in the 100’s because of American whale hunters. Americans and Europeans have PROVEN that they can’t be trusted in regards to whaling. You have no proof against Japan, just biased opinion.

  • Glenn

    I cant wait to watch these sea tardz in action again accomplishing absolutely nothing. This series is a comedy about a bunch of totally incompetent hippies and their clueless captain on a boat. The Japs must die laughing watching this like I do.

    • Hideyoshi Toyotomi

      We “Japs” do not die laughing at our sailors being attacked by terrorists. Just as we did not laugh on 11 September 2001, we do not laugh now about the violence of extremist fanatics.

      You see Glenn-san, there is nothing funny about terrorism. Even when it is perpetrated against mere “Japs”.

      • Matthew Williams

        You Japs love killing dolphins and whales and all sentient creatures that you can get your hands on. Barbaric! You dont seem to care that the whole world detests your actions and you defend a whaling seavessel the whole world hates. When will you realise you will stop voluntarily otherwise you will be stopped by force!

      • Karl P

        Please tell me you are not comparing the Sea Shepherd organization with the terrorists who executed the 9/11 tragedy. I was in New York when the towers fell, and I watched it happen right in front of me. I lost friends and neighbors that day. The actions of the 9/11 terrorists caused immense suffering that will continue for eternity. If there is any similarity between 9/11 and the situation in the southern seas, it’s the brutal attacks of the Japanese whalers and the suffering they are causing. The Sea Shepherd organization has never harmed a single creature, human or otherwise. The same can’t be said of the Japanese whalers.

      • Damascha

        The SS are no terrorists, they never harmed or tried to harm one human being on the Japanese ships, the Japs themselves tried to hurt the people of the SS several times, so who are the terrorists, i ask you?

      • From MN, with hope…

        Are you comaparing a huge American tragedy that killed hundreds of innocent Americans to these vegan protestors stopping the deaths of whales!?! Wow. Any moron with a brainstem would respect the tragedy, and would never try to shrink it down to such a level. The SSCS ISNT A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION!!! They are standing up for what is right. I have tried to be respectful, and calm, but that has pushed me over the edge.
        Hope you burn and rot in hell with the rest of those murderous whalers.

      • Hideyoshi Toyotomi

        Just because Sea Shepherd is ineffective does not mean they are not terrorists. This chap who was recently pulled off one of your planes with explosives on his body, he didn’t harm anyone either. But he tried. And he too believed that what he was doing was right.

        That is what makes a terrorist: someone who is willing to endanger human life to acheive their fanatical beliefs.

        Paul Watson and his band of thugs have repeatedly endangered the lives and well being of Japanese civilians to further their agenda and to attract publicity and donations. They have rammed their boats, thrown acid, and pointing lasers in their eyes. They spread lies and misinformation, and incite racial hatred that is clearly manifested on this very page. They are terrorists, just like Al’Qaeda.

        The only difference is that you seem to think their violence is OK because it is perpetrated in the name of a cause you support and against Japanese, not Americans.

        Ethics is troublesome, isn’t it?

      • From MN, with hope…

        That “acid” is rotten butter. Spitting on them would cause more acid damage. The lasers cause temporary blindness, but the lasers I dont understand why, and do not condone. And when they rammed the Yushin they caused more damage to the Steve Irwin then the Yushin sustained. THEY ARENT TERRORISTS. They do not TRY to endanger life. The last thing they want is to kill someone. They have said that repeatedly. They even wanted to help out last season when the Japanese lost a man overboard! Calling the SSCS terrorists is like calling those EV protestors from Cali terrorists. They’re protestors, who use direct-action, and somtimes feathers get ruffled.

        Once again you have called Sea Shepherd an organization that has killed hundreds if not thousands of innocents, when in reality the whales are just minding their own, living a great life when your harpoon boat comes and brutaly murders them. The SSCS has killed how many people? Harmed? If anything the ICR is the terrorist organization. When was the last time YOU ate whale? That is why I dont like you Japs. You NEVER change. And yet again you have insulted many Americans, and many Mid. Easterners. You keep saying the same thing, so why dont you just stop. You have convinced NONE of us that the SSCS is bad, and the ICR is good. In fact your little cries for attention have led us to the facts which are that the ICR is a commercial fishing program, and the SSCS hasnt done anything wrong.

        And ethics… I like Greenpeace’s message, but I do not like their way of delivering it. In other words I do not support Greenpeace, strictly due to how stubbourn they are.

      • Hideyoshi Toyotomi

        Your delusional belief that Sea Shepherd means no one any harm is besides the point. Even if that were the case, which it is clearly not, Sea Shepherd conducts itself with the knowledge that a reasonably foreseeable consequence of its actions is human injury and possible death. The area in which it carries out its attacks is very dangerous and the slightest mishap can result in death. Watson has stated this himself repeatedly. That he continues to attack with this knowledge is criminal. It is called recklessness and is tantamount to intent.

        And sir, how dare you compare the loss of human life to that of a mere whale. You do a grave insult not only to humanity at large but also to the memory of victims of terrorism the world over, including New York. How dare you. Have some respect.

        You do not have to like Japanese people. This is not a popularity contest and we are not here to please you. And as an American, I think you might know a thing or two about negative global perception?

      • From MN, with hope…

        Beside the point? Thats what you’ve been raving about! Its not beside the point its the essence of why you’ve been calling them terrorists. They know its dangeroius down there, but those who voluteer to do it are willing to face the danger to save the whales.

        And I wasnt comparing a human life to a whale life, I was saying that SSCS doesnt kill anybody, and the ICR is the only one doing any killing! Its not human life, but a life is a life.

        How about you get some respect! You insulted 9/11 and America’s issues with terrorism! You are the one who needs to get some respect! How dare YOU.

        It doesnt matter anyway, the ICR will bankrupt itself.

        And I do know about culture hate, it was braught upon us by the actions of our presidents. I dont mind being hated as a person.

        I still cannot get over the fact you said what you did to me when your posts compare the loss of human life to those protecting whales. Thats all they are doing, protecting whales! When was the last time YOU ate whale you pathetic loser!

    • Ryan

      Its funny shit, whats even more funny is the jap thats trying to compare it to terorism.

  • Damascha

    Not all Japanese are the same, there’s one on the SI, helping them and i don’t think that all Japanese are for the whalingindustry, most of them are against it, just like us.

    About the SS being a comedy, i think you are! These good people are trying to help, and are prepared to put there lifes on the line and what are you doing, totally nothing. If you think it’s so funny, wait untill the seas are empty, then we will have a very big problem, see if you’re still laughing then.