The Sea Shepherd organization continues to try stopping Japanese whalers from killing whales. Over the last month, Sea Shepherd boats have been attacked with water cannons and rammed by the larger Japanese whaling ships.
A battle erupted between the Sea Shepherd ships Bob Barker and Steve Irwin and the Japanese whaling fleet when the whalers ignored a warning from Sea Shepherd to not reenter the Southern Ocean Sanctuary.
The Japanese fleet was escorted out of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary at 1530 Hours on Tuesday, February 9th. They left the Sanctuary at 60 Degrees South and 76 Degrees and 36 Minutes East.
The fleet fled north on a course of 310 Degrees to the position of 57 Degrees 14 Minutes South and 69 Degrees 6 minutes East and then turned back one hundred and eighty degrees and headed back towards the Sanctuary on a course of 230 at 1700 Hours on February 10th.
At 1650 on Thursday, February 11th the Japanese fleet reentered the Whale Sanctuary at 60 Degrees South and 62 Degrees East.
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.
The six ships, four whaler and two conservation vessels, engaged for over five hours. There were many near misses but no collisions. There were no injuries.
A Sea Shepherd Delta launched from the Steve Irwin annoyed the harpoon vessels with rotten butter bomb attacks.
All ships have backed off and the convoy of whalers and anti-whalers continues in a Southwestern direction into the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
“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.”