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Home | Friday 9th January 2009 | Issue 661

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The Sea Shepherd ship the MV Steve Irwin has been patrolling the ocean off the coast of Australia since December 21st to stop another season of Japanese whaling (for last year see SchNEWS 616). It is chasing two Japanese vessels, forcing the whalers to retreat and stop hunting.

The Sea Sheperd ship the MV Steve Irwin
Bowling a few overs from the Steve Irwin as it swaps paintwork with the Japanese whaling boat Kaiko Maru. Research - who are they kidding?
The Steve Irwin came tantalizingly close to the Kaiko Maru whaling in Antarctic waters. Once within throwing distance, activists tarred one of the vessels with rotten butter, bottles of methyl cellulose and permanent die. The whaling ship moved hard to starboard and bumped into the Steve Irwin, damaging the helicopter deck. The campaign's Captain says they "will continue to pursue, harass and intervene against their blatantly illegal lethal assaults on the whales."

While the Japanese whaling ships claim to carry out scientific research under approval of the International Whaling Commission, campaigners say whaling is being undertaken for commercial use - which has been banned for 23 years and breaches both the IWC conditions and International Conservation law. They are also in Australia's Economic Exclusion Zone and Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary where whaling is prohibited under an Australian Court Order. However, so far the Australian government have remained silent on the issue.

Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson, says, "we still have them on the run and we intend to keep them on the run for as long as our fuel resources allow." The Steve Irwin has 40 international volunteers and an Animal Planet film crew onboard producing the 2nd year of the series Whale Wars.

On Tuesday this week (Jan 6th) the Japanese had to abandon their operations as one of their crew had fallen overboard. The Sea Shepherd joined the whaling ships in search for the missing man, but were told the whalers did not want help from an "eco-terrorist" organization.



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