As expected, the Japanese whaling fleet has returned to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary; less than a day after leaving it in an apparent attempt to either shake the tail of the Sea Shepherd or deplete their fuel.
According to the latest report from the SS, once it was clear that the Japanese were attempting to reenter the sanctuary, an epic battle lasting more than five hours erupted between the six ships.
“As the Japanese fleet reentered the Whale Sanctuary, the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin pulled up alongside the Nisshin Maru to deliver a message by loudspeaker in Japanese warning them not to enter the Whale Sanctuary. The Nisshin Maru responded with water cannon and LRAD fire. The Steve Irwin returned water cannon fire. The Steve Irwin then attempted to launch a helicopter when the three harpoon vessels moved in with water cannons and LRADs blazing in an attempt to destroy the helicopter on the deck. The Bob Barker moved into position to block the harpoon vessels and the Steve Irwin was forced to fire warning flares in front of the harpoon vessels to force them to back off.”
According to the release, there were many near misses but no collisions. There were no injuries.
“Tomorrow marks a full week that not a whale has been killed,” said Captain Paul Watson. “Our goal now is to make it two weeks and then three weeks. We will not tolerate the death of a single whale. If they attempt to kill and transfer a whale to the Nisshin Maru there will be inevitable collisions, because we will neither move out of harms way nor cease blocking the slipway. That I can promise.”
According to a release by the Institute of Cetacean Research, three Japanese sailors were injured by “acid-splash chemical injury to their eyes and face”. Sea Shepherd spokesman Michael Dalton told the Brisbane Times the acid projectiles were “harmless” butter bombs. “We use bottles filled with rancid butter; they have a pH less than lemon juice,” Mr Dalton said. “To say that someone was burned is the most ridiculous claim.”
Videos of some of yesterday’s clashes are below: