Japanese having a Whale of a Time
If and when you visit Antarctica you might have the displeasure of coming across the Japanese whaling fleet along the way.
We were on our way back home after spending 12 months on the ice in Antarctica, we were just about to leave Casey station on the Aurora Australis when we got asked to help out the Polar Bird which had been stuck in Prydz Bay just out from Davis station for around 45 days.
It was New Years eve, we had just been celebrating the night away so the majority of us were in a jovial mood, however that soon changed. Shortly after midnight a vessel was sighted on the horizon from the bridge. The Aurora Australis approached the vessel and the Captain made radio contact to see if it needed assistance, it was confirmed that it was a Japanese whaling ship a “chaser” Kyo Maru No.1 and that it did not need any assistance.
Illegal Whaling Operations in Australian Antarctic EEZ
The Captain of the Aurora continued to interrogate the vessel asking what it was doing 38 nm (nautical miles) inside the Australian Antarctic exclusive economic zone (EEZ), which extends 200 nm from the Antarctic coast, their reply was that they were conducting scientific research on whales and that they had a permit to be in these waters.
The Captain of the Aurora replied that he believed that they were conducting illegal whaling operations and should leave the area immediately. The whaling ship then started to move westward toward another vessel on the horizon, a Japanese whaling factory processor ship the Nishin Maru.
The Aurora followed the chaser, Kyo Maru No.1 to within a couple of hundred metres of the factory ship, the Captain of the Aurora again made radio contact with the fleet and asked them to leave the Australian Antarctic EEZ. He also informed them that their position and details had been reported to the Australian authorities, and again asked them to leave the area immediately by sailing north. There was no response from the Japanese fleet, and we had no choice but to continue on our way toward the beset Polar Bird.
Whaling to Feed a Cultural and Economic Hunger
There certainly has been a lot of controversy over the Japanese Whaling program, they claim it is for science however it is pretty obvious that it is to feed a cultural and economic hunger – so to speak! And while they keep up this mindless slaughter of these most awesome creatures the world risks losing some of it’s whale species to extinction by greed and opulence!
Greenpeace has certainly been very active in the saviour of whales and it seems that the Japanese government may now start to back off on their whaling program due to the enormous pressure being applied by Greenpeace and global dislike to whaling practices.
Here are some pics which I took while alongside the Japanese whaling fleet, note the sign on the back of the “Factory Ship” which states quite clearly the Japanese opinion of our Greenpeace warriors!
(WHALES ARE NOT ENDAGERED! GREENPEACE MISLEADING THE PUBLIC !)
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