Three dead minke whales lie on the deck of the Japanese
whaling vessel Nisshin Maru, in the Southern Ocean. Photo
supplied by Sea Shepherd
Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd says it has boxed in the
Japanese whaling fleet's factory ship, effectively suspending
whaling in the Southern Ocean.
The conservation group located the Japanese fleet on Friday
night, and two of its vessels were now ahead and behind the
factory ship Nisshin Maru.
Sea Shepherd New Zealand spokesman Michael Lawry said the
Japanese fleet, including its harpoon and security vessels,
was now leaving the whaling grounds.
"They were heading northeast, out of the area, and the Sea
Shepherd vessel Bob Barker was right on the tail of the
factory ship, and the Steve Irwin was ahead."
Mr Lawry said the group's presence had put a stop to Japan's
"If they're moving, they're not whaling, and if we're on the
tail of the factory ship, they won't be whaling.
"The plan will be just to stay on their tail and drive them
out, pretty much. If we can stay on their tail, then they
won't be able to load any more whales on."
The Steve Irwin's helicopter spotted the Nisshin Maru and its
two harpoon ships on Friday night, after heavy fog lifted.
Sea Shepherd's vessels quickly made their way towards the
The anti-whaling group said it was able to find the fleet
thanks to information from Australian Environment Minister
It was also able to track the fleet by the discarded, bloody
remnants of dead whales, which Sea Shepherd said had been
strewn through the water of the Southern Ocean.