The Japanese government whaling vessel Nisshin Maru flees from the Greenpeace ship Esperanza in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary during a 4300 nautical mile chase that lasted more than 14 days.
In a dramatic 4300 nautical mile chase, the Esperanza spent
fourteen days chasing the whaling fleet's factory ship, the Nisshin
Maru. Without the factory ship, the remaining hunter vessels have
been unable to operate - bringing the entire whaling programme to a
It is estimated that the fleet needed to catch approximately
nine minke whales each day and an endangered fin whale every other
day in order to reach their self-imposed quota of nearly 1,000
whales. However, the Japanese government said they would not whale
while Greenpeace was with the Nisshin Maru.
In a statement radioed in Japanese and English to the Nisshin
Maru, Greenpeace Japan campaigner Sakyo Noda said "we believe that
you are under orders from Tokyo not to allow anyone to witness your
fake science programme. Each of you on board your ship must ask
yourself why, if there is nothing wrong with your science
programme, do you need to hide from public scrutiny and run away
from legitimate peaceful protest?" Noda called on the fleet to
abandon the hunt and return to Japan.
In just 24 hours, more than 20,000 people have emailed Fujio
Mitarai, the CEO of Canon, demanding that he use his unique
position as head of the Japanese Business Federation, contributing
to the growing demands on the government to stop whaling in the
Southern Ocean. Mr Mitarai refused a Greenpeace request to
reconsider his company's failure to condemn Japan's whaling
programme, despite promoting Canon as a major sponsor of projects
to save endangered species. (2)
Greenpeace's peaceful protests in the Southern Ocean in
opposition to the whale hunt have received considerable attention
in Japan with both the public and media beginning to question why
vast amounts of taxpayers' money is being squandered on fake
research to generate tonnes of whale meat that no one wants to
"While the Esperanza must return to port, the campaign to stop
whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is far from over,"
said expedition leader Karli Thomas. "The pressure we have created
on the high seas must now be translated into action by companies
like Canon, governments around the world, and the Japanese people
Other contacts: Dave Walsh, Greenpeace International communications officer on board the Esperanza. Tel: +47 514 079 86 or +873 324 469 014Sara Holden, Greenpeace International Whales Project leader, on board the Esperanza. Tel: +47 514 079 86 or +873 324 469 014Junichi Sato, Greenpeace Japan Whales Project leader, Tokyo.Tel: +81-80-5088-2990 (GMT + 9)Photos are available from John Novis, + 44 7801 615 889 in London (GMT+0) and video from Michael Nagasaka +81 806 558 4447 in Tokyo (GMT +9)
Notes: (1) The Esperanza located the whaling fleet in the early hours of January 12th, and has been chasing the Nisshin Maru ever since. On January 22nd, Greenpeace activists blocked attempts by the Nisshin Maru to receive fuel from, and transfer whale meat to, the Panamian-registered Oriental Bluebird.(2) http://www.greenpeace.org/canonGreenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses non-violent creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.