The Sea Shepherd Crew in the Southern Ocean are continuing their Operation No Compromise that is interfering with the Japanese whalers in the sanctuary. Yesterday the crew of the Gojira, a high speed vessel, encountered the factory ship the Nisshin Maru in the process of flensing(skinning off the blubber) of a whale. They harassed the ship with slingshots shooting red paint and attempted to block the much larger vessel from escaping. The crew would have to keep in mind the dangerous episode last year when a collision between the high tech Ady Gil and a Japanese whaler resulted in the sinking of the Ady Gil. This encounter stopped just short of contact. The Gojira slowed the progress of the Nisshin Maru enough so that the Bob Barker could catch up to it and tail it.
It would seem that the Japanese whalers are using dirty tricks to try to evade the Sea Shepherd activists. On February 4, the Yusshin Maru 3 which had been tailing the Bob Barker and the Gojira as they hunted for the elusive factory ship issued a distress signal claiming that they were under attack by the Sea Shepherd people.
"The Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) issued a statement claiming the distress call was made because the Yushin Maru No. 3 was “under attack” by Sea Shepherd."Sea Shepherd News
law requires that the nearest vessels stand by to offer assistance. This ploy delayed the Sea Shepherd boats for 48 hours at which time the Yushin Maru No.3 let the Australian authorities know that there was no emergency. In the meantime, the factory ship had a chance to slip away. Unbeknownst to the Japanese whaler at the time, a crew from the TV series Animal Planet was aboard the Sea Shepherd vessel and able to record the event.
The Southern Ocean is supposed to be an area of sanctuary for these large ocean mammals. There is a prohibition against commercial whaling in the ocean surrounding Antarctica. The Japanese Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) maintains that the whale kill is strictly for research purposes, a stand that is disputed by many.