The Sea Shepherd volunteers have spent months at sea for Operation Divine Wind, their eighth campaign to Antarctica to oppose Japan’s whaling operations in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. After battling rough seas and losing the use of one of their ships, comes good news for the conservation organization.
Sea Shepherd reports that the Bob Barker has located the whaling factory ship, Nisshin Maru. Captain Paul Watson received a satellite phone call from Bob Barker Captain Peter Hammarstedt, who said “Eureka! Paul, we have the Nisshin Maru in our sights.” The ship and three harpoon vessels were found sixty miles off the coast of Antarctica and in the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone, according to Sea Shepherd.
The organization says that all whaling has stopped as the Nisshin Maru now has to try to flee from the faster Bob Barker. “We have kept them running for two months and that has disrupted their operations considerably, but now with the Bob Barker on their stern slipway whaling is effectively shut down for 2012,” said Hammarstedt.
Watson reports that the Steve Irwin was able to lead security vessel Shonan Maru 2 and the Yushin Maru 3 away from the Bob Barker, enabling the Bob Barker to locate and follow the Nisshin Maru. The Steve Irwin is now returning to Australia after a long campaign. Watson said, “This has been a long and tough campaign, with the worst weather and ice conditions that we have experienced in the entire eight seasons we have ventured into the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Despite the temporary loss of our scout ship, the Brigitte Bardot, and our constant dogged pursuit of the Nisshin Maru, we have kept them on the run, taken two of their three harpoon vessels off the hunt for two months, severely crippled their killing capabilities, and now once again we have shut them down 100%. Operation Divine Wind has been enormously successful.”
Animal Planet announced back in December that the fifth season of Whale Wars will air this year, and there are some reports that a preview of the spinoff featuring footage of Sea Shepherd’s Faroe Islands campaign has already been watched by some viewers.