After a high speed chase over hundreds of miles through fog and increasingly rough seas, the Greenpeace ship Esperanza this morning drove the Japanese whaling fleet out of the Southern Ocean hunting grounds.Having confronted the fleet close to the ice edge, the Esperanza pursued the factory ship Nisshin Maru over the 60 degrees latitude mark - the boundary of the whale hunting grounds, followed by the catcher vessel Yushin Maru.
"We came here to stop the fleet from whaling and we have done
that. Now they are out of the hunting grounds they should stay
out," said Greenpeace Japan campaigner Sakyo Noda.
It is suspected that the fleet is planning to re-fuel soon and
offload whale meat that has already been processed onto the
Panamanian-registered tanker Oriental Bluebird - a ship not
licensed to be part of the whaling fleet.
There are already around 4,000 tonnes of whale meat stockpiled
in Japan from previous expeditions - clearly showing there is no
appetite for it.
"They are re-suppling a fleet that is not welcome in Antarctica
and trafficking whale meat that is not wanted in Japan," said
expedition leader Karli Thomas. "In addition, we have seen the
Oriental Bluebird re-fuelling the whaling fleet within the
Antarctic waters in the past, which is a major threat to the
pristine environment. The tanker is not registered as part of the
whaling fleet, so should not be here."
Other contacts: Dave Walsh, Greenpeace International communications officer on board the Esperanza. Tel: +873 324 469 014 and +47 514 079 86Sara Holden, Greenpeace International Whales Project leader, on board the Esperanza. Tel: +873 324 469 014 and +47 514 079 86Junichi Sato, Greenpeace Japan Whales Project leader, Tokyo. Tel: +81-80-5088-2990 (GMT + 9)Photos are available from Michelle Thomas, + 81 903 593 6979 and video from Michael Nagasaka +81 806 558 4447, both in Tokyo (GMT +9)