On Monday January 6 at 1650 AEDT, after a 360-mile chase, The Sea Shepherd Fleet drove the Japanese whaling fleet’s factory ship, the Nisshin Maru, out of the Antarctic Treaty Zone.

Sea Shepherd has all ships in the Japanese whaling fleet accounted for, and can confirm that the whale poaching fleet is scattered and currently not hunting whales. The harpoon ships are separated by hundreds of miles. The Nisshin Maru is on the run and unable to stop and whale in its self-designated whale-poaching grounds.

The Japanese whaling fleet was escorted across 60° S and past the northern limit of the Antarctic Treaty Zone by the Sea Shepherd ships The Sam Simon, The Steve Irwin and The Steve Irwin’s helicopter.

The three Sea Shepherd ships are still in the Southern Ocean and will continue patrols. Should the Nisshin Maru attempt to return to the whaling grounds, Sea Shepherd will be ready to once again intercept and shut down their illegal whaling operations.

Captain of The Steve Irwin, Siddarth Chakravarty said, “This is an optimistic start to Operation Relentless. Within a day-and-a-half we have the entire whaling fleet in disarray.”

Captain of The Sam Simon, Adam Meyerson said, “We have won this battle, but the war for the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary will wage on over the coming months.”

photos by Eliza Muirhead

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