Japan’s whaling industry is going to be so pissed when it finds out what animal rights group Sea Shepherd has just done. The Paul Watson led activists have tricked the nation into selling it a $2 million government ship, which will be refitted and in turn be used against Japan’s whale hunt this year.
Formerly known as the Seifu Maru and stationed at docks right next to Japan’s whaling fleet, the 56-meter (184 foot) long ship was sold through a third-party U.S. company. It was registered and renamed as the New Atlantis, and then delivered to north Queensland, Australia by a Japanese crew, with the understanding that it was going to be turned into a pleasure boat. However, Locky MacLean, a Sea Shepherd skipper, revealed today that the Japanese government was actually doing business with them the whole time.
The ship now carries an Australian flag, and the New Atlantis name has been dropped. The latest Sea Shepherd vessel is to be known as the Sam Simon, named after the founding producer of renown animated TV show The Simpsons, and an animal welfare advocate, who donated the funds used to buy the ship. The boat is being moved to the city of Hobart on Tuesday, where it will make its official debut as Sea Shepherd launches their latest campaign, Operation Zero Tolerance, against Japan’s Antarctic whale hunt. As the Seifu Maru, the ice-strengthened ship was built in 1993 and used as an observatory vessel by the Japan Meteorological Agency until it was laid up in 2010.[via WA Today]