Operation Zero Tolerance Update
Tuesday, February 19th, 2013 1700 Hours AEDT
Monday, February 18th, 2013 2200 Hours PST
Position: 65° 52” South & 80° 10” East
Speed: 11.4 knots
Today was a good day for the whales. This is the 4th straight day without a whale kill since catching up to the Nisshin Maru.
This morning the Sea Shepherd ships Steve Irwin, Bob Barker and Sam Simon obstructed and prevented the illegal refueling of the Nisshin Maru by the Korean owned and Panamanian registered tanker Sun Laurel.
The whalers lost their six hour weather window and as the fog descended, and heavy swells began to rise, the entire six ships of the Japanese whaling fleet began to head Southward towards the West Ice Shelf at 11 knots.
Their destination is another weather window nine hours to the South. The three Sea Shepherd ships continue to escort the whaling fleet and will be prepared to once again obstruct the illegal fueling operations of the Sun Laurel.
This is the first time ever that the whalers have sent their tanker south of Sixty degrees, a blatant violation of the Antarctic Treaty. It is also a violation of Australian law to bring heavy fuel into the Australian Antarctic Territorial waters.
The Sun Laurel has already spilled fuel into the waters of the Treaty zone. Sea Shepherd has reported this infraction to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, to the International Maritime Organization and to Panama, the flag state of the Sun Laurel.
This actually elicited the following response from the Japan Daily Press:
“With all the claims of the whaler’s actions, whether it be spilling oil, chasing the activist group, or attempting to crash, coming only from Sea Shepherd, it’s not only one-sided, but beginning to sound like nothing but tattling. If a country were to send its authorities, even Australia, to at least observe what is going on between the Japanese and anti-whalers, it would be helpful in getting an accurate picture of what is going on, not to mention serve as a safety assurance.”
Sea Shepherd does agree that the Australian government should send a vessel to observe the situation but accusing us of “tattling” is just downright juvenile. It is not “tattling” if evidence is gathered and Sea Shepherd has no shortage of cameras and microphones. In addition samples were taken of the fuel oil that was spilt and authorities can match the samples to the fuel in the tanks of the Korean tanker.
It is interesting that the Japan Daily News completely ignores the fact that there is a Japanese government ship here. The Shonan Maru #2 carries armed Japanese Coast Guard. But since Fukushima, even the Japanese media no longer believes what they hear from the Japanese government.
Sea Shepherd found the whaling fleet on January 29th, before any whales were killed and chased the fleet for 2500 nautical miles westward for 18 days. There was a two day period when the Nisshin Maru stopped with one harpoon vessel the Yushin Maru #2. That allowed the Bob Barker to catch up with whalers. Some whales could have been killed during that two-day period but not very many.
The killed a whale when the Bob Barker arrived on Friday and that was the last whale they have killed since then.
They have only 9 days left in February and no more than 14 days left in March. In 23 days the season will be over.
Sea Shepherd has the fuel to stay with the fleet until the end and the Sea Shepherd crews are committed to doing so.
Sea Shepherd is also confident that this will be the most successful year to date and that the whalers will kill fewer whales than they have ever killed before.
But for today we can celebrate jet another good no kill day for the whales.
via Captain Paul Watson (Observer)