Sea Shepherd Australia reports the Japanese whaling fleet is killing whales within the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
From the organization’s press release from this afternoon:
SEA SHEPHERD LOCATES WHALE POACHERS:
CONFIRMS WHALES HAVE BEEN KILLED INSIDE WHALE SANCTUARY
Monday January 6, 2014 – Melbourne, Australia — The Sea Shepherd Fleet has located all five vessels of the Japanese whale poaching fleet, including the Japanese factory ship, the Nisshin Maru, inside the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
The Steve Irwin, The Bob Barker and The Sam Simon are now in pursuit of the whaling fleet, driving them away from their intended poaching grounds, disrupting their illegal hunt, and preparing to shut down their whale-killing operations.
The Steve Irwin’s helicopter first located the Nisshin Maru at 64°44′ S, 162°34′ W, in New Zealand’s sovereign waters in the Ross Dependency Antarctic region, and inside the internationally recognised Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Sea Shepherd has obtained compelling footage and images of three dead protected Minke Whales on the deck of the Nisshin Maru, taken at the time the factory ship was first located.A fourth whale, believed to be a Minke, was being butchered on the bloodstained deck.
Sea Shepherd Australia Managing Director, Jeff Hansen, stated, “The Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary has been tainted by the illegal slaughter of these beautiful and majestic Minke Whales by the ruthless, violent and barbaric actions of the Japanese whale poachers. No one will ever know the pain and suffering these playful, gentle giants went through from the time the explosive harpoon ripped through their bodies to the time they drew their last breath in a red sea full of their own blood. One thing is for sure, Sea Shepherd will do what ever it takes to ensure no more whales have to endure pain and suffering at the hands of these whale butchers from Japan.”
Captain of The Steve Irwin, Sid Chakravarty, said, “When ‘science’ requires you to grotesquely bloat up the bodies of protected whales, stroll across a deck smeared with their blood, hauling their body parts with hooks and chains, and discarding their remains over the side, then that ‘science’ has no place in the 21st Century. The Nisshin Maru is an out-and-out butcher ship and a floating butchery has no place in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Sea Shepherd will remain relentless in driving these fake, desperate and subverting ‘scientists’ back to Tokyo.”
The Japanese whale poaching fleet operates in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in contravention of the 1986 global moratorium on commercial whaling under the guise of scientific research. In June 2013, the government of New Zealand joined the Australian government’s challenge to the legality of Japan’s whale hunt in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary at the International Court of Justice. A judgement on the case is yet to be delivered.
Captain of The Bob Barker, Peter Hammarstedt, said, “Once again, the Japanese government has shown flagrant disregard for international law by continuing their illegal whale hunt while the world patiently awaits a decision from the International Court of Justice. The Japanese government’s dishonourable attempt the skirt the legal process is an insult to the cooperation demonstrated by people around the world, dedicated to enacting conservation laws out of a shared recognition for the need for environmental protection.”
Managed and led by Sea Shepherd Australia, Operation Relentless is Sea Shepherd’s tenth Antarctic Whale Defence Campaign. In its previous nine campaigns, Sea Shepherd saved the lives of over 4,500 whales.
Sea Shepherd Australia remains the only organisation committed to defend the integrity of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary by directly intervening against the illegal operations of the Japanese whaling fleet.