Last night at 2330 hours, lead by Sea Shepherd Australia, Sea Shepherd’s ship the SSS Bob Barker found the Nisshin Maru and proceeded to pursue the factory ship. The Japanese security ship Shonan Maru No. 2 responded to the Nisshin Maru and approached the Bob Barker following at a distance of 2 miles.
The day before, Sea Shepherd Australia’s vessel the SSS Brigitte Bardot found the harpoon vessel Yushin Maru No. 3. The Yushin Maru No. 3 was heading west and then headed due south to throw the Brigitte Bardot off the track of the Nisshin Maru. However, the Brigitte Bardot decided to pursue the Yushin Maru No. 3 to force it to put as much distance between it and the Nisshin Maru as possible. The Yushin Maru No. 3 is now 400 miles from the Nisshin Maru.
The whaling fleet has not yet killed a single whale. All four Sea Shepherd ships were guarding the approaches to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and interception was made before the fleet could enter the killing area.
Co-Campaign Leader and Sea Shepherd Australia Director, Jeff Hansen, stated, "We have visual confirmation from the crew of the Brigitte Bardot that the harpoon mount on the Yushin Maru 3 is tarped up and has not been loaded, meaning that the fleet hasn't begun firing their harpoons."
The Japanese whaling fleet is now scattered and being chased by the Sea Shepherd fleet.
Co-Campaign Leader Bob Brown stated, “The first 24 hours of contact with the whale poachers have been a victory for Sea Shepherd and a complete loss for the Japanese whaling fleet. I am delighted to report that not a single whale has been harmed so far. Go Sea Shepherd!”
One more day and January will be free of whales killed, marking the first time ever that no whales have been killed in this peak month of whaling.
With its strongest fleet ever of four vessels, Sea Shepherd Australia this year has the power to completely stop the Japanese whale poaching fleet, which continues operations in defiance of a 2008 Australian Federal Court ruling prohibiting their whaling activities in the Southern Ocean. The Sea Shepherd ships intend to keep the whale poachers on the run and divided. All Sea Shepherd ships have the fuel to remain in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary until the end of the whaling season and Operation Zero Tolerance remains on target.