After spending two weeks successfully preventing the Japanese whaling fleet from hunting in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, the Greenpeace ship Esperanza is running low on fuel and must return to port. The Australian government ship Oceanic Viking is still tracking the fleet.
The Esperanza spent 14 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 program to a halt.
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 whales campaigner Sakyo Noda said "we
believe that you are under orders from Tokyo not to allow anyone to
witness your fake science program. Each of you on board your ship
must ask yourself why, if there is nothing wrong with your science
program, 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
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
program, despite promoting Canon as a major sponsor of projects to
save endangered species. Mitarai has the unique ability to
influence Japanese business leaders to oppose the senseless hunt,
knowing it is bad for Japanese business interests worldwide.
Greenpeace's peaceful protests in the Southern Ocean have
brought the issue of whaling to the forefront of public
consciousness in Japan. The Japanese public is now questioning why
taxpayer funds are paying for a fake research program that
generates thousands of tons of whale meat that goes uneaten, and
nothing of significant scientific value.
"While the Esperanza must return to port, the campaign to stop
whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is far from over,"
said Greenpeace expedition leader Karli Thomas. "The pressure we
have created on the high seas must now be translated into action
all over the world."
VVPR info: Steve Smith, (202) 465-5352 or