Condemning violence in the Southern Ocean

Feature story - 12 February, 2007
On Sunday 12 February, the Esperanza received a distress call. This time it was from the Japanese Government whaling fleet's unarmed sighting vessel, the Kaiko Maru, claiming a collision with the Sea Shepherd vessel Robert Hunter. "We completely condemn any violent action by anyone. Potentially endangering lives in the middle of the Southern Ocean is unacceptable," said Karli Thomas, expedition leader on board the Esperanza.

Where the focus should be: stopping the killing of whales.

The Esperanza offered immediate assistance, heading at full speed to their position.

According to the Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand first reports stated the Kaiko Maru was "under attack." Later reports claimed a collision between the Sea Shepherd vessel Robert Hunter and the Kaiko Maru, with the Robert Hunter receiving a hole in the hull above the water line and the Kaiko Maru suffering unspecific damage to its propeller.

Karli adds, "While these three vessels are engaged in a potentially life threatening incident, just over the horizon hunter ships with grenade tipped harpoons could be killing whales. That is where the focus should be."

At approximately 18.15, the Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand requested that the Esperanza "stand down". The Rescue centre was informed that we would remain within VHF range if assistance were needed.

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