Japanese whalers hunting in sanctuary
Greenpeace has caught the Japanese whaling fleet hunting whales in the newly created Antarctic whale sanctuary.
The crew aboard the MV Greenpeace found the fleet in the Southern Ocean for the third time in five days on February 14. This time, the three catcher boats and the factory ship Nisshin Maru did not run away. Greenpeace footage from the scene shows the harpoons uncovered and crows nests staffed as they began their hunt for minke whales.
When a whale blow was seen in front of the catcher Kyo Maru No. 1, the Greenpeace immediately sent ahead its helicopter and an inflatable boat to block the harpoon's path. The helicopter stayed between the whaler and whale for 20 minutes before the Kyo Maru No. 1 pulled away. The Greenpeace also tailed the catcher Toshi Maru No. 18.
After a snow storm blew up, the Greenpeace crew saw the Kyo Maru No. 1 joining its factory ship on the radar.
"The Nisshin Maru then took off — with, we assume, a freshly killed minke on board", said whales campaigner Kieran Mulvaney.
The sanctuary was created by a vote of 23-1 at last year's meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Mexico. The Japanese fleet has continued its so-called "scientific" whaling; the meat it produces retails in Tokyo's markets and restaurants for up to $US350 a kilogram.