On Sunday 12 February, the Esperanza received a distress call. This time it was from the Japanese Government whaling fleet's unarmed sighting vessel, the Kaiko Maru, claiming a collision with the Sea Shepherd vessel Robert Hunter. "We completely condemn any violent action by anyone. Potentially endangering lives in the middle of the Southern Ocean is unacceptable," said Karli Thomas, expedition leader on board the Esperanza.
Where the focus should be: stopping the killing of whales.
The Esperanza offered immediate assistance, heading at full
speed to their position.
According to the Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand first
reports stated the Kaiko Maru was "under attack." Later reports
claimed a collision between the Sea Shepherd vessel Robert Hunter
and the Kaiko Maru, with the Robert Hunter receiving a hole in the
hull above the water line and the Kaiko Maru suffering unspecific
damage to its propeller.
Karli adds, "While these three vessels are engaged in a
potentially life threatening incident, just over the horizon hunter
ships with grenade tipped harpoons could be killing whales. That is
where the focus should be."
At approximately 18.15, the Rescue Coordination Centre of New
Zealand requested that the Esperanza "stand down". The Rescue
centre was informed that we would remain within VHF range if
assistance were needed.
Read reports straight from the Southern Ocean
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