The Death Star Returns to the Land of the Rising Sun
No More Whales Will Die This Season.
Finally, the burnt out hulk of the whale killing floating factory called the Nisshin Maru is limping out of the Antarctic treaty zone, the stench of rotten whale meat lingering in its wake. The whale killing fleet is now slowly heading north to Japan. There will be no stopping in New Zealand for repairs. A stop there will result in legal issues that could tie the ship up for years and the whale meat onboard would be confiscated.
The whaling fleet has a long way to go to reach Tokyo and the crew will be mourning the loss of one crewmember and remembering the opposition by Sea Shepherd that left their decks reeking of rotten butter and awash with the blood of the whales caused by Sea Shepherd crew sealing the bloody deck flensing outlet drains. It is a ship that reeks of death, burnt flesh, gore and blood, and it looks and smells like the Death Star that it is.
The image of the Nisshin Maru retreating from the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary is joyous news for all people who love whales. This ship is the single greatest whale killing machine of all time and the only thing more pleasing to us would be to see its total destruction. Fortunately this did not happen, because the sinking of the ship would have been an ecological disaster.
Whaling is now officially ended for the 2006/2007 season and the unofficial final whale body count appears to be less than 500 whales of their 960 targeted Piked whales. It is not known how many of the targeted Fin whales were killed.
The Nisshin Maru is severely damaged. The main engine was started but electrical systems are barely functioning. The whale processing equipment is ruined. The winches used to haul up the whales are inoperable. The cargo of whale meat onboard has been partially if not completely spoiled by loss of refrigeration and intense heat. In addition the whale meat has been contaminated by chemicals used to fight the blaze and spilt during the fire.
The disaster has highlighted the fact that the Nisshin Maru is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. This year, Antarcticaâ€™s wildlife was spared the tragedy of an oil and chemical spill that would have occurred if the 8,000 ton ship had sunk with hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil and an unknown amount of chemicals like ammonia and chlorine.
This is the second serious fire on the Nisshin Maru in 10 years. The vessels are not ice-class. Japan has put their pride before any concern for the protection of Antarctic eco-systems and wildlife. Their lust to kill whales has become obsessive and is blinding their common sense.
â€œWhat Japan has just demonstrated over the last 10 days,â€ said Captain Paul Watson, â€œis a total contempt for international concerns for the environmental protection of Antarctic wildlife. This whaling fleet is an ecological time bomb and the potential for disaster is a real and ever present danger when they are down in the Whale Sanctuary illegally slaughtering endangered whales.â€
The whaling fleet spotting vessel the Kaiko Maru is also heading home marked with the scars of their deliberate collision with the Sea Shepherd ship Robert Hunter. The Japanese crew on both the Nisshin Maru and the Kaiko Maru saw first hand the dedicated courage of our international volunteers in action during the confrontations. They were days they will not soon forget.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is already preparing to return to the coast of Antarctica in December 2007 to once again intervene against illegal Japanese whaling activities.
â€œWe have discovered weaknesses with the Japanese ships that can be exploited given the right equipment. We learn more about these ruthless killing machines every year.â€ SaidFarley Mowat Captain Alex Cornelissen. â€œNext year if they return to kill Humpbacks and Fins, we will have to take a more aggressive stand to stop these poachers.â€
The targeting of 50 Humpbacks and 50 Fin whales for the 2007/2008 season is a line in the sand where the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is prepared to take a stand.
â€œWe cannot abide, tolerate or ignore such a blatant slaughter of the highly endangered Humpbacks.â€ Said Captain Paul Watson. â€œThe Humpback is the symbol of our organization and a part of our logo and we will defend this species as aggressively as we can. Our position on the Humpbacks and the Fins is zero toleranceâ€
The 2006/2007 campaign is now officially over. The efforts of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have highlighted the on-going illegal activities of the Japanese whaling fleet. Our message was that the Japanese whalers were killing highly endangered whales in an international whale sanctuary in violation of the global moratorium on commercial whaling. Japan is engaged in numerous international crimes and they must be opposed and they must be shut down.
This year, call it fate, call it karma, or call it the will of God but whatever it is, the results have been wonderful for the whales and all of us at Sea Shepherd are extremely satisfied with the ignoble retreat of the ruthless killers of the gentle giants as their disgraced and damaged ships limping shamefully home stinking with the corpses of their innocent victims.
Our message to the Japanese whalers. â€œWe hope your damages are so severe you will not be back next year but if you are, we will be there waiting for you and we will not be as polite as we were this year.â€ Said Captain Paul Watson.
The Sea Shepherd ships Robert Hunter and Farley Mowat are now docked in Melbourne. Preparations have already begun to outfit a campaign to intervene against the possibility of a return of the whaling fleet in December.
Captain Paul Watson
Founder and President of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (1977-
Co-Founder – The Greenpeace Foundation (1972)
Co-Founder – Greenpeace International (1979)
Director of the Sierra Club USA (2003-2006)
Director – The Farley Mowat Institute
Director – www.harpseals.org
“Sail forth – steer for the deep waters only,
Reckless O soul, exploring, I with thee and thou with me,
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go,
And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.”
– Walt Whitman