ANTI-WHALING campaigners begin their Antarctic season today with a dilemma – the whalers are said to be still in Japan.
Sea Shepherd has overhauled its two existing ships and bought its first Australian-flagged vessel, the $1 million Gojira, to launch this summer’s campaign from Hobart.
The 90 activists will leave tonight to train off Tasmania before heading south, leader Paul Watson said.
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Sea Shepherd’s Gojira. Photo: Eye in the Sky
However, Sea Shepherd members in Japan this week photographed the factory whaling ship Nisshin Maru docked at its home port of Innoshima and Greenpeace said there was no sign of it leaving.
The fleet usually departs by mid-November, but even if the main ship of the fleet left later this week it would probably not begin processing whales until January, Captain Watson said.
The Institute of Cetacean Research still plans to take up to 935 minkes and 50 fin whales, institute spokesman Glenn Inwood said.
Gojira (Japanese for ”Godzilla”) presents a potentially ticklish diplomatic problem for the Gillard government as the first Sea Shepherd vessel to be Australian flagged.
Tokyo persuaded other countries to strip Sea Shepherd of ship registrations because of its actions against the whalers. The Netherlands held out and still flags the Steve Irwin and Bob Barker.
Formerly the round-the-world-record-holding Ocean Adventurer, Gojira is twice the size of the sunken Ady Gil and faster than any of the whaling ships. It is expected to scout for the fleet ahead of the other two ships.
Read the rest of the story: ‘Godzilla’ ready to battle Japan’s tardy whalers.