The Greenpeace ship Esperanza maintains its watch over the Japanese government's whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru, which was disabled by fire.
The Esperanza (foreground) and the Japanese whaling ship Nisshin Maru, disabled by a recent fire.
The Esperanza arrived at the location in the Ross Sea at about
07.00 (New Zealand daylight time) on the 17th of February. Two
ships - the re-supply and re-fuelling vessel Oriental
Bluebird and one of the harpoon, or catcher boats - were tied
either side of the Nisshin Maru. Nearby were two more
Shortly after the Esperanza arrived, a US Coast Guard
icebreaker, the Polar Sea appeared. They said they were also
here to assess the situation. The Yushin Maru then asked our
campaigner from Japan,
Sakyo to help translate between the two.
Offer of help
We have offered to tow the Nisshin Maru north, in order
to assist and ensure there was no further threat to the environment
from the disabled vessel.
The Nisshin Maru is secured to two other ships, which
takes care of short-term difficulties. It's been reported that one
of them, the Oriental Bluebird, could tow the Nisshin
Maru. However, Frank Kamp, the Esperanza's captain, says that
the Oriental Bluebird clearly isn't the best option - and he
has ten years experience on salvage vessels. The Oriental
Bluebird is too big and too difficult to manoeuvre should more
problems arise. As it stands, we're still the best option should
the Nisshin Maru need to be towed out of the Ross Sea. The
New Zealand Prime Minister and more than 10,000 Greenpeace online
activists have asked the Japanese government to accept our offer to
remove the crippled ship from Antarctic waters.
Glenn Inwood, a Public Relations spin doctor who represents the
Institute of Cetacean Research, has claimed that the Nisshin Maru
has restarted its engines and will recommence whaling. However,
crew aboard the Nisshin Maru have told us differently. Read more
the diverging facts at the weblog.
All the latest from our ship in the Southern Ocean and our political team around the world.
See what the Esperanza sees with our live webcam from the bow of the ship.