The Japanese whaling fleet has abandoned its plans to out-run the Sea Shepherd Fleet, with its factory vessel, the Nisshin Maru, slowing down to 12 knots after a 36 hour chase at full speed.
At approximately 1300 AEDT today, the Nisshin Maru, flanked by the harpoon vessels, Yushin Maru and Yushin Maru No. 2, reduced its speed and changed course for due west. The Sea Shepherd Fleet now surrounds the whale poachers, with The Bob Barker six nautical miles ahead of the whalers, The Steve Irwin six nautical miles to the eastern side of the poachers, and The Sam Simon approaching from the south.
Captain of The Bob Barker, Peter Hammarstedt, said, “The Nisshin Maru has resigned itself as unable to outrun the determination of the Sea Shepherd Fleet. We will shadow them wherever they try to run and if they attempt to kill any more whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, the Sea Shepherd ships are in position to stand fast.”
The Japanese whaling fleet had been trying to out run the Sea Shepherd Fleet since Friday 24th January at 2050 AEDT, when The Bob Barker located the Nisshin Maru, effectively suspending whale poaching operations in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Captain of The Steve Irwin, Sid Chakravarty, said, "For the past 36 hours, the Sea Shepherd ships have led the Nisshin Maru and her flotilla of harpoon ships 600 miles away from the whaling grounds. We had promised to find the poachers again and chase them out of the sanctuary and we have achieved that. We remain relentless; thwarting every attempt and outmaneuvering every move that the whaling fleet makes."