Sea Shepherd locates factory ship Nisshin Maru, says whaling season is shut down
by Jennifer Mishler
Categories: Animals, Causes, Environment
Tags: , .
Photo: Sea Shepherd

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.

About Jennifer Mishler

Jennifer Mishler is a writer, and a vegan and animal activist. When she's not writing, you can often find her volunteering or advocating for animal, environmental and human rights causes. Along with writing for Ecorazzi, she has contributed writing for nonprofits like Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and enjoys blogging. She resides in the Washington, DC area (and loves all the vegan food it has to offer). Follow Jennifer on Twitter: @jennygonevegan.

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  • Lucy Flywheel

    But the whalers – the Institute for Cetacean Research – say their season, which typically runs through the end of March, will continue as planned.

    Institute spokesman Glenn Inwood said the activists aren’t achieving anything.

    “Sea Shepherd has shut nothing down,” he said.

    • Sarah Vaz

      I’m curious how much of that ICR statement is for PR purposes, though. There’s nothing preventing misrepresentation of facts on either side. Obviously people would be less likely to support SS financially if they believed they were not achieving anything. Its difficult to discern the facts of the matter from statements by either party, but hopefully there will be some independent reporting on this.

  • Lenmeister Drumington

    You have a paid television crew following you around, so you’re not really in any position to call someone else a media whore. The difference between you and Glenn Inwood is that Inwood’s information is usually reliable.

    Oh and the Japanese are on a research mission, their goal is not to “break even”. Your operation is indeed pathetic if you have to wait to hear from the whalers before you know if you were successful.

  • Lucy Flywheel

    Glenn Inwood once described the Sea Shepherd liars as an “ocean-going Joseph Goebbels”.

  • The Dave

    It’s called timing, Claire.

  • The Dave

    “They need to kill 600 whales to break even.”

    Oh? What do you base that on?

  • The Dave

    The author of the article is a Sea Shepherd volunteer, so that answers half the question for you: The photo was provided by Sea Shepherd. Whether the intent was to deceive is anybody’s guess, but fan deception *is* an important part of their MO….

    • Jennifer Mishler

      Sea Shepherd did not send the photo to me to use. I found the photo and credited them, as it is their photo. They did not deceive anyone, nor did I or Ecorazzi. I chose it because it’s a photo of the Nisshin Maru, the factory ship in this post. It is not meant to be a picture of the ship taken by Sea Shepherd at this time.

  • Lenmeister Drumington

    God help any conservation endeavour that relies on Watsonian math to measure it’s success. That’s no success at all.

  • noleman1

    Hopefully the 2013 whaling season will be more successful for the Japanese whalers. Would like to see them send out more ships that are smaller and faster to run interference with Watsons ships and protect the factory ship and harpoon ships, as well as using the infamous prop foulers on Watsons ships that Watson is so eager to use on the Japanese and using multiple helicopters themselves. Also since Watsons crew is trying to disable the Japanese ships it seems that the use of more drastic and physical force is warranted as necessary to protect the safety of the Japanese crew. Go Whalers!!!

    • PokerRay

      Really? And why are you invested in seeing whales die for no purpose?

  • Mike123456789123456789

    Apparently the SS Bob Barker, doesn’t watch the show. From
    what I saw they were shut down by the harpoon ships. Personally I don’t believe they found the Nisshin
    Maru. Their radar would have picked the
    Bob Barker, long before it got close.
    The SS crews are the first to cry foul when they are confronted when
    their own tactics are turned against them.
    It’s about time the Japanese
    started to defend themselves. May be
    with luck Paul Watson will be watching the show from a Costa Rican prison.