News Index > Sortable News 10/06 - now > February 2007
Japanese Whalers Shut Down By Their Own Folly


The Nisshin Maru is not a very safe ship. Around ten years ago, while enroute to the coast of Antarctica, the vessel suffered a major fire that forced the whale slaughter ship into a South Pacific island port for repairs.

Now it has happened again.

The Nisshin Maru, the death star of whale kind, the floating slaughterhouse and ruthless killing machine, is now burning out of control in the Ross Sea.

One hundred and twenty-seven crewmembers have been evacuated to the other ships in the whaling fleet. Twenty crew remain onboard to fight the fire. Ships in the region have been notified to head towards the stricken vessel.

The Nisshin Maru at work

The Sea Shepherd ships Farley Mowat and Robert Hunter are 1100 miles to the northwest on course for Melbourne, Australia. The Robert Hunter is required to be in Melbourne by February 19th, the day the British have ordered the removal of the ship's registration at the request of the Japanese government. The Farley Mowat has only enough fuel left to reach Melbourne.

The Greenpeace ship Esperanza is 700 miles from the position of the Nisshin Maru.

The Japanese fleet changed their plans and instead of continuing westward, they doubled back to the Ross Sea. The fire began onboard the ship near the Possession Islands.

Sea Shepherd presumes that the Japanese fleet headed southward to shake off Sea Shepherd's pursuit. By heading south they knew it would extend the range between the Sea Shepherd ships and the nearest port, and they knew we would be having concerns about limited fuel

The crews of the Sea Shepherd ships Farley Mowat and Robert Hunter hope that all of the Japanese crew are safely evacuated.

The crews of the Sea Shepherd ships are relieved to know, however, that the killing of whales will most likely be halted for this year and if the damage is significant it may affect the whaling industries plans to return to the Southern Oceans at the end of the year to target endangered humpback, fin, and piked whales.

"Of course we are concerned for the welfare of the crew on the Nisshin Maru," said Sea Shepherd Founder and President Captain Paul Watson. "However we are down here because of our concern for the welfare and fate of defenseless whales. These highly intelligent, socially-complex sentient beings are now safe for the rest of this season from the merciless harpoons of the Japanese outlaw whalers and that is a good thing � a very good thing � and we are pleased for that."

Whaling ship 'ablaze after blast'
February 15, 2007 09:00am
A JAPANESE whaling ship is on fire this morning after reports of an on-board explosion.

The Nisshin Maru, part of a fleet of whaling ships operating in the
Ross Sea in Antarctica and which has been fighting running battles with
anti-whaling protesters for the last week, is ablaze after an onboard explosion. The protest was called off yesterday.

One person is reported to be unaccounted for and 141 of the 161 crew
have been evacuated to three other ships in the fleet.

The remaining crew members are reported to have stayed on board to
fight the fire, believed to be in the ship's engine room.

A Maritime New Zealand spokesman has said the missing crewman could
still be somewhere on the ship, or he could have been washed overboard.

A distress call was sent from the 8000-ton ship at 3.15am (AEDT) and
since then the captain has been sending regular updates to the maritime

"We are standing by, talking to the master," the spokesman was quoted
by NZPA as saying.

"At the moment he has got the situation under control so we are just
seeing if he wants any assistance, either with the fire or the missing

Two New Zealand Navy frigates, the HMAS Te Kaha and the HMAS Te Mana,
which could reach the whaling vessel quickly, are heading north and
will not be redirected to the area.

The whaling vessels have been shadowed by the anti-whaling activists'
ships that form part of the Sea Shepherd fleet, who said yesterday they
were abandoning their protest.

One of the whalers was involved in a collision with one of the protest
ships earlier this week, but each side blamed the other for causing the

The protest ship, the Robert Hunter, sustained a 30cm gash to its hull
in the collision, after which the Japanese vessel sent out and then
cancelled a distress signal.

Shortly before that collision, the captain of another protest ship, the
Farley Mowat, said he was running out of fuel and threatened to ram a
whaling vessel rather than return to port, where the ship's
registration status would potentially prevent it leaving dock.

That threat drew widespread condemnation, including from fellow
environmental protesters Greenpeace.

The captain of the ship later withdrew the threat and said yesterday
that he was returning to port to refuel, effectively ending the protest



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