Sea Shepherd News
Captain Paul Watson received a satellite phone call from Captain Peter Hammarstedt onboard the Bob Barker at 2200 Hours (AEST) on March 5th. “Eureka! Paul, we have the Nisshin Maru in our sights,” said Captain Hammarstedt
The Nisshin Maru and her three deadly harpoon boats were found at 64 Degrees 59 Minutes South and 130 Degrees 51 Minutes East at Commonwealth Bay, sixty miles off the Antarctic Coast, inside the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone.
The Yushin Maru No. 3 had just arrived from tailing the Steve Irwin. Despite the three harpoon vessels deployed to intercept the Bob Barker, Captain Hammarstedt slipped through their web and gained a visual identification on the primary target. Two of the harpoon vessels were in pursuit of whales. All whaling activity stopped as the Nisshin Maru began running, but the Bob Barker is faster and is gaining steadily on the hated factory ship.
“We have her in our sights and she will not be able to outrun us,” said Bob Barker third mate, Vincent Burke of Melbourne. “We have kept them running for two months and that has disrupted their operations considerably, but now with the Bob Barker on their stern slipway whaling is effectively shut down for 2012,” said Captain Hammarstedt (27) from Sweden.
The Japanese security ship, Shonan Maru No. 2, is still tailing the Steve Irwin, presently one day from the Bass Strait, and is now 1600 nautical miles away from the whaling fleet. The Steve Irwin successfully led the Shonan Maru No. 2 and the Yushin Maru No. 3 away from the Bob Barker, to allow the Bob Barker to lose a tailing vessel. The key to finding the Nisshin Maru was losing the tailing ship-and it worked.
“This has been a long and tough campaign, with the worst weather and ice conditions that we have experienced in the entire eight seasons we have ventured into the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary,” said Captain Paul Watson. “Despite the temporary loss of our scout ship, the Brigitte Bardot, and our constant dogged pursuit of the Nisshin Maru, we have kept them on the run, taken two of their three harpoon vessels off the hunt for two months, severely crippled their killing capabilities, and now once again we have shut them down 100%. Operation Divine Wind has been enormously successful.”
The Bob Barker spots the whaling fleet's factory ship
The Nisshin Maru Photo: Carolina A. Castro