The Greenpeace ship Esperanza today escorted the Japanese whaling fleet out of Antarctic waters and beyond the area where the whaling fleet operates.
As the Esperanza and the whaling fleet passed the 60-degree
latitude line, which marks both the perimeter of the Japanese
"scientific" whaling area (Jarpa II) and the Antarctic Treaty
jurisdiction, Melanie Duchin, Greenpeace USA campaigner on board
the Esperanza, radioed the fire-damaged whaling factory ship
Nisshin Maru, saying:
"We acknowledge your grief at the loss of your crewmember and we
also acknowledge the work you have done day and night to repair
your ship, but this must be the last time your government sends you
to the Southern Ocean to hunt whales and threaten the Antarctic
environment. For the sake of the environment, the whales and your
crew - never again!"
Minutes earlier the Japanese national television channel NHK
reported that the fleet was returning to Japan and that the whaling
season was now over.
"In addition to the senseless hunting of whales within an
internationally agreed whale sanctuary, this season has been marked
by human tragedy and a very real threat to the pristine Antarctic
environment," Duchin commented.
"The Japanese government and the international community must
now make a pledge that this whaling season will be the last."
The Esperanza will then continue on to Australia to mark the end
of the Defending Our Oceans campaign - a fourteen month expedition
to expose all threats to the oceans, which began in November 2005
with the ship sailing to the Southern Ocean, where activists
prevented 82 whales from being killed, and also forced out the
companies funding the hunt, by taking peaceful direct action. Check