The Greenpeace ship Esperanza sighted the stricken Japanese government whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru at approximately 07.00 (New Zealand daylight time) this morning.
February 14th 2007. Southern Ocean. The MY Esperanza in the Southern Ocean. The Greenpeace vessel is on its way to offer assistance to the Japanese Whaling fleet's factory ship Nisshin Mauru after it caught fire. Greenpeace has offered to tow the factory ship out of the Whale Sanctuary and the pristine Antarctic Environment.
The ship was close by two of the hunter vessels from the fleet.
The Nisshin Maru is tied to the re-supply and re-fuelling vessel
the Oriental Bluebird and another hunter vessel.
The US Coastguard icebreaker the Polar Sea is also in the area
to assess the situation and Greenpeace is helping with
The weather conditions were clear but there were icebergs and
loose ice around. Weather reports indicate that the weather could
worsen in the next couple of days.
Greenpeace Japan campaigner Sakyo Nado radioed the Nisshin Maru,
but received no answer. He then radioed the Yushin Maru and
repeated the assurance that the Esperanza had come to help. They
responded asking us to standby and also to assess the ice
The helicopter from the Esperanza is now undertaking an initial
aerial assessment of the situation.
Yesterday Greenpeace offered to tow the Nisshin Maru out of the
Southern Ocean, in order to assist and ensure there was no further
threat to the environment from the disabled vessel.
According to Esperanza skipper Frank Kamp, who has ten years
salvage and towing experience, the Oriental Bluebird could tow the
Nisshin Maru - if it were the only vessel there, but was large and
would be difficult to manoeuvre if any problems arose.
Other contacts: Contact in NZ
Cindy Baxter, media coordinator 021 772 661
Bunny McDiarmid Greenpeace NZ Executive Director 021 838 183
Contact on board the Esperanza: + 872 324 469 014
Sara Holden, Greenpeace International Communications
Karli Thomas, Greenpeace International expedition leader
Contact for Video: Maarten Van Rouveroy, in Sydney, Australia: +61 438 422 572
For Photos: Michelle Thomas, in Sydney, Australia: +61 404 096 556
Exp. contact date: 2007-03-17 00:00:00