Smaller Japanese fleet & bigger Sea Shepherd fleet sail toward Whale Wars IV
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2010:
TOKYO, HOBART–The Jap-anese whaling fleet sailed on
December 2, 2010 to kill whales in Antarctic waters declared off
limits by the International Whaling Commission since 2004. The Sea
Shepherd Conservation Society fleet sailed the same day for a seventh
winter of trying to stop the whalers, and a fourth winter of hosting
the Animal Planet crew that produces the documentary hit series Whale
“The Japanese whaling fleet traditionally departs by November
19 and returns in April,” the Environmental News Service reported,
“but this year will conduct a shortened hunt with fewer vessels.
During the 2009-10 season,” ENS continued, “the Japanese fleet
included a factory ship, three harpoon ships, a supply ship and two
security patrol vessels. But the support vessel Hiyo Maru #2, which
fueled the fleet and transported frozen whale meat back to Japan,
was scrapped in September. Two ships that previously did whale
sightings have been sold or scrapped.”
“This year, the Japanese whaling program will not have enough
catchers to kill the usual number of whales and will not have enough
onboard freezer space to store the meat,” Greenpeace Japan oceans
campaigner Wakao Hanaoka told ENS. Japan already has more than a
year’s worth of whale meat in storage, Hanaoka added.
The Sea Shepherd fleet this winter includes the Steve Irwin,
under founder Paul Watson, and the Bob Barker, under Alex
Cornelissen, both used in past anti-whaling campaigns; the
long-range pontoon-equipped helicopter Nancy Burnet; and the Gojira
[Godzilla], captained by Locky Maclean. Launched as the Cable &
Wireless Adventurer, the Gojira set a record for powered craft in
1998 by circling the world in 74 days.
That record was broken in 2008 by the Ady Gil, a vessel of
similar appearance but half as long. The bow of the Ady Gil was
sliced off on January 6, 2010 by the whale-catcher Shonan Maru #2.
The aft portion of the Ady Gil was towed for two days by the Bob
Barker before being scuttled.
Maritime New Zealand, the agency that enforces New Zealand
maritime safety, reported on November 16, 2010 that both the Shonan
Maru #2 captain and Ady Gil builder/captain Pete Bethune “were
responsible for either contributing to, or failing to respond to the
‘close quarters’ situation that led to the collision.”