Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd revealed that a Japanese whaling vessel is apparently returning to its hunting grounds in the Southern Ocean as shown by a tracking device placed on the ship. Earlier it had seemed that the Japanese fleet had closed its whaling season and was heading home but Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson says a tracker on the fuel tanker Sun Laurel shows that it has changed course and appears to be returning south.
Watson says that he believes that the Nisshin Maru, the mother ship of the fleet, can’t be far behind. The Sea Shepherd vessel Bob Barker is in pursuit and returning to the Southern Ocean in light of the recent movement of the Japanese fleet. Watson said this movement is baffling and it doesn’t make “economic sense” because they won’t be able to take many whales (not that Sea Shepherd wants them to take any, just to be clear).
Sea Shepherd ships have been keeping close tabs on Japan’s whaling fleet this season. The already combustible situation intensified when Sea Shepherd boats collided with Japanese vessels during a re-fuelling operation. Japan claimed that its whaling ship and the fuel tanker had to abandon the process after allegedly being rammed multiple times by the Sea Shepherd vessels. Sea Shepherd denies they rammed the vessels, but instead say they collided while trying to stay between the whaling ship and fuel tanker. Watson revealed yesterday that the Japanese fleet was probably on its way home taking with it the lowest number of whales in its history of hunting Antarctic waters. Sea Shepherd claims the fleet killed no more than 75 whales.[ via ABC News ]