Sea Shepherd Catches Japanese Poaching Fleet with Dead Whale in Australian Sanctuary.
After five weeks of patrolling the Southern Ocean, Sea Shepherd has located the Japanese whale poachers’ factory whaling vessel in the Australian Whale Sanctuary with a dead minke whale on its flensing deck, the first to be documented since the International Court of Justice ruled against their whaling operations in the Antarctic in 2014.
The Nisshin Maru was spotted by the helicopter of Sea Shepherd’s MY Steve Irwin at 12:34AM GMT (11:34AM AEDT) at a position of 64 57.6S – 085 09.6E, within the Australian Whale Sanctuary. When the helicopter approached, the Nisshin Maru crew scrambled to hide the slaughtered whale with a tarp, while the fleet’s harpoon ships Yushin Maru and Yushin Maru #2 quickly covered their harpoons.
“The whale killers from the Nisshin Maru were caught red-handed slaughtering whales in the Australian Whale sanctuary,” says Captain Adam Meyerson of the Ocean Warrior, Sea Shepherd’s newest Southern Ocean patrol ship. “The Steve Irwin has shut down their illegal operations and caught them trying to hide the evidence.”
These are the first photographs documenting the Japanese whaling fleet’s killing of whales since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled their whaling program illegal in 2014 and the Australian Federal Court found the Japanese whaling industry in contempt for killing protected whales in the Australian Whale Sanctuary. Sea Shepherd’s discovery of the factory ship and the slaughtered whale comes just a day after Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in Australia on an official state visit.
Jeff Hansen, Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia stated, “The lack of action by the Turnbull government while whales are being killed in Australian waters just a day after Japan’s Prime Minister was on a state visit in Australia shows that the government has no spine when it comes to protecting the wishes of Australians to defend the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.”
Sea Shepherd’s helicopter has relayed the whaling fleet’s position to the MY Steve Irwin, now on an intercept course with the factory ship. No more whales will be killed today.
“The fact that the Japanese crew went to cover up their harpoons and the dead minke whale on deck just shows that they know what they’re doing is wrong,” says Captain Wyanda Lublink of the MY Steve Irwin. “They know they are in contempt of the ruling of the International Court of Justice and the Australian Federal Court. How can the Australian government ignore these actions when the majority of Australians condemn what they are doing?”
About Operation Nemesis
Operation Nemesis is Sea Shepherd’s 11th Antarctic whale defense campaign. In Sea Shepherd’s past ten campaigns over 6,000 whales have been spared the grenade-tipped harpoons of the illegal Japanese whaling fleet. Japan’s so-called “scientific research” program used to justify the killing of whales has been rejected by the International Court of Justice and the International Whaling Commission’s scientific committee. In 2015 the Australian Federal Court fined the Japanese whalers $AU1 million for hunting within an Australian whale sanctuary, however it remains unpaid.
See more here: http://www.seashepherdglobal.org/nemesis/about-operation-nemesis
For further information, photos, video footage and interview requests, contact:
Heather Stimmler, Sea Shepherd Global Media Director
Tel: +339 7719 7742 (EUROPE, GMT+1)
For Australia and New Zealand media requests, contact:
Adam Burling, Media Coordinator Sea Shepherd Australia
Tel : +61 409 472 922 (AUSTRALIA, GMT+11)
Photo Captions/Credits (high-res images available on request):
20170115-GL-GNL3595 – First dead Antarctic minke whale to be documented since the ICJ ruling against Japanese whale poachers
20170115-GL-GNL3625 – Protected Antarctic minke whale about to be dismembered on the deck of the factory whaling ship, Nisshin Maru
20170115-GL-GNL3631 – Crew of the Yushin Maru scramble to cover their harpoon
20170115-GL-GNL3690 – Japanese whalers cover their crimes with a mock body bag
Photos copyright Sea Shepherd Global / Glenn Lockitch
Sea Shepherd Global
Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Our mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.
Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations. For more information, visit: http://www.seashepherdglobal.org/