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Greenpeace Blockades Refueling of Whaling Factory Ship
by Takver - Sydney Indymedia
Tuesday Jan 22nd, 2008 9:47 AM
The Nisshin Maru whaling factory ship met with the Panamanian-registered supply ship Oriental Bluebird in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica to refuel and transfer frozen whale meat. When they attempted to come alongside Greenpeace attempted to stop the refueling by placing their inflatable boats between the factory ship and the supply ship, hindering the refuelling for a time.
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SOUTHERN OCEAN ESPERANZA 22 JANUARY 2008 - A Greenpeace inflatable boat tries to prevent Japanese whaling fleet's factory ship Nisshin Maru from refuelling from the supply vessel Oriental Bluebird in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The Panama-registered Oriental Bluebird is illegally operating as part of the whaling fleet in Antarctic waters. Greenpeace has successfully prevented the Japanese whaling fleet from killing whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary for eleven days so far. (C) GREENPEACE/REZAC

Eventually the Nisshin Mau and Oriental Bluebird were side by side and able to start the refuelling and transfer of frozen whale meat. While this was ocurring Greenpeace had inflatables circling, and two whaling catcher ships also circled and maneurvered at high speeds with fire hoses aimed at the activists in the Greenpeace inflatables.

Greenpeace Japan whales campaigner Sakyo Noda said in a statement radioed to the Oriental Bluebird, in Japanese, Spanish and English: "The Oriental Bluebird must leave Antarctic waters immediately: your presence here is unwanted and a threat to the pristine Antarctic environment which has been declared a particularly sensitive sea area by the International Maritime Organisation and a 'natural reserve, devoted to peace and science' by the Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty. A refueling operation within the Treaty area would be contrary to the spirit of the Antarctic Treaty. Japan, as a party to the Treaty, must comply with the letter and the spirit of the Treaty and not refuel within the Treaty area and comply with Annex IV on the Prevention of Environmental Pollution".

Then the Australian Customs ship Oceanic Viking steams from over the horizon to observe the spectacle of the Japanese whaling factory ship being refueled in the Antarctic Treaty area below 60 degrees south. The whalers turn off their hoses, and the catcher boats slow down and keep a bit more distance form the Nisshin Maru and Oriental Bluebird.

The Japanese government consistently fails to lodge required environmental impact assessments for the whaling fleet with the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat, even though it is a party to the Antarctic Treaty. The Panamian-registered Oriental Bluebird also lacks this documentation, designed to ensure protection of the environment.

Panamian activist Mir Rodriguez, from on board the Esperanza said "The Panamanian government, which takes a position in defence of whales, at the IWC and elsewhere is now in effect taking part in the whale hunt in the Antarctic whale sanctuary by allowing the Oriental Bluebird to illegally join the Japanese whaling fleet under the Panamanian flag," he said "Panama must immediately either recall its flag from the Oriental Bluebird, or order it to stop supporting the whaling fleet."

In Tokyo, Japan on January 22 administrative vice-Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Toshiro Shirasu told reporters that the whaling fleet has not resumed hunting because Greenpeace is following their fleet in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The whale slaughter has been disrupted for 11 days with the Greenpeace ship Esperanza chasing the factory ship Nisshin Maru for ten straight days.

The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin is also in the vicinity being tailed by a Japanese mystery ship, The Fukuyoshi Maru No. 68.

For reports, photos and video of events visit the Esperanza Crew weblog

Sources:

  • Greenpeace Press releases and Esperanza weblog
§Attempted Blockade
by Takver - Sydney Indymedia Tuesday Jan 22nd, 2008 9:47 AM
soo08-291.jpg
SOUTHERN OCEAN ESPERANZA 22 JANUARY 2008 - A Greenpeace inflatable boat tries to prevent Japanese whaling fleet\'s factory ship Nisshin Maru from refuelling from the supply vessel Oriental Bluebird in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The Panama-registered Oriental Bluebird is illegally operating as part of the whaling fleet in Antarctic waters. Greenpeace has successfully prevented the Japanese whaling fleet from killing whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary for eleven days so far. (C) GREENPEACE/REZAC
§Transferring Frozen whale meat
by Takver - Sydney Indymedia Tuesday Jan 22nd, 2008 9:47 AM
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SOUTHERN OCEAN ESPERANZA 22 JANUARY 2008 - Whale meat is being offloaded from the Japanese government whaling fleet's factory ship Nisshin Maru onto the supply vessel Oriental Bluebird in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The Panama-registered Oriental Bluebird is illegally operating as part of the whaling fleet in Antarctic waters. Greenpeace attempted to stop the Japanese vessel, NIsshin Maru from refueling off the supply vessel the Oriental Bluebird today and has successfully prevented the Japanese whaling fleet from killing whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary for eleven days so far. (C) GREENPEACE/REZAC
§Australian Customs inspecting transfer
by Takver - Sydney Indymedia Tuesday Jan 22nd, 2008 9:47 AM
soo08-321.jpg
SOUTHERN OCEAN ESPERANZA 22 JANUARY 2008 - Australian government customs officials from the Oceanic Viking pull alongside the Japanese whaling fleet's factory ship Nisshin Maru as she transfers whale meat and refuels in Antarctic waters from the supply ship Oriental Bluebird. The Panama-registered Oriental Bluebird is illegally operating as part of the whaling fleet in Antarctic waters. (C)GREENPEACE/REZAC 2008
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Video of Greenpeace disrupting the Refuelling ProcessTakverTuesday Jan 22nd, 2008 11:18 PM