Crossing the Line - Greenpeace sees Japanese fleet out of the whaling grounds

Press release - February 28, 2007
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 out: http://oceans.greenpeace.org