THERE ARE less than 10 days left in the whaling season and the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin has reached the limit of its fuel reserves.

“We have no alternative but to retreat from the Southern Ocean.” Said Captain Paul Watson. “We have just enough fuel to make it back to port. We’ve done everything we can do down here for this season and it has been an enormous success. I believe we have saved the lives of over 500 whales.”

Since departing Melbourne on February 14th the Steve Irwin has covered over 6,000 miles chasing the Japanese fleet from as far west as 96 Degrees East to as far east as 136 Degrees East. Most of the chase was inside the Australian Antarctic Territorial waters between 62 Degrees South and 65 Degrees 30 Minutes South. In total the Steve Irwin pursued the Japanese whaling fleet for over 3500 miles. The Nisshin Maru was tailed and harassed for over 1800 miles of that.

From February 23rd until March 10th the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society can reliably report that whales were not killed for that 17 day period. Added to the three weeks that the Japanese whalers were prevented from killing whales in January that brings it to a total of five and a half weeks or nearly half the whaling season.

“Our success will be reflected in the final kill figures,” said 1st Officer Peter Brown. “There is no doubt in my mind that we have made a significant impact on their profits this season and I am assuming they are not very happy.”

In response to the International Whaling Commission condemning Sea Shepherd’s interventions in the Southern Ocean, Captain Watson said, “while they were in London talking about whales we were down hear actually protecting the whales so they can condemn us until the cows come home but I think we served our clients, the whales, as best we could and every whale’s life saved has been a victory for us. We feel satisfied for the lives we saved and we feel remorse for the lives we were unable to save and the IWC members should feel ashamed for allowing Japan’s criminal poaching activities to continue.”

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will work to secure a second ship to return to the Southern Ocean next season along with the Steve Irwin although the Society is hoping that Japan will withdraw from continued illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean.

“We don’t enjoy this conflict with the Japanese.” Said Captain Paul Watson. “We do this to defend the whales, and not to offend Japan, but if we are offending Japan by defending the whales then that is the way it must be.”

*Is this the shooter?
Sea Shepherd has examined the images made at the time Paul Watson felt a hit on his chest.
In the first image the Japanese coastguard spread out on the upper deck of the Nishiin Maru.
Below them and to the right, above the ‘www.icrwhale.org’ banner, is a vague shape with a small burst of yellow light in front of it.
A magnification of the image indicates that it is not operating equipment or a deck light but possibly a person with something to their shoulder. Is this the shooter?


Captain Paul Watson
Master - The Steve Irwin
Master - The Farley Mowat
Founder and President of the
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
http://www.Seashepherd.org

via Jon Sumby

“We have no alternative but to retreat from the Southern Ocean.” Said Captain Paul Watson. “We have just enough fuel to make it back to port. We’ve done everything we can do down here for this season and it has been an enormous success. I believe we have saved the lives of over 500 whales.”