Japanese Whaling Fleet Heads For The Antarctic
Two Japanese whaling ships leave the port in Shimonoseki - Photo KYODO
TOKYO, 18 Nov. 2016 - Two Japanese whaling ships set off today for Japan's annual hunt in the Antarctic Ocean despite widespread international opposition, local media reports.
The ships, the 724-ton Yushin Maru and 747-ton Yushin Maru No. 2, set out from the port city of Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Western Japan, and will join two other whaling vessels and the 8,145-ton whalemeat processing factory ship Nisshin Maru to form a fleet, with the plan to kill 333 minke whales by March, 2017.
Japan, a signatory to the commercial whaling moratorium adopted by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in the 1980s, and in defiance of a International Court of Justice ruling, has been hunting whales for "aleged scientific research purposes" in the North Pacific and the Antarctic.
Darren Kindleysides from the Australian Marine Conservation Society said Japan had ignored more than 20 resolutions from the International Whaling Commission calling for a stop to it's so-called "scientific" whaling.
Sea Shepherd Australia has expressed its intention to block Japan's whaling, with it's new ship, the Ocean Warrior and it's former persuit vessel the Steve Irwin. With the likelihood of high-seas protest clashes over the summer media is reporting the tension, around Japan's decision to resume killing whales after the hunt being ruled illegal, is rising.
The Japanese agency is planning to monitor Sea Shepherd's activities from one of its patrol/catcher vessels, that has in previous encounters, applied extremely agressive maneuvers.
In Melbourne, Chinese television was among the media at the Williamstown dock for the arrival of the Ocean Warrior. With Beijing and Tokyo in regular dispute over questions of International Law, China may use Japan's selective use of the Law to further it's own agenda in the South China Sea since Japan has ignored the International Court of Justice in issues relating to whaling.
Japanese Patrol vessel Yushin Maru No.2 - Photo compliments of Greenpeace UK
Sea Shepherd's Ocean Warrior - Photo by Jason South
Sources: The Japan Times - Xinhuanet - Asia & Pacific Edition - The Brisbane Times