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Whales to the slaughter as Sea Shepherd forced to Refeul
The Sea Shepherd crew on board the MV Steve Irwin have been forced to curtail their pursuit of the Japanese Whaling Fleet to return to port to refuel. The anti-whaling activists have chased the Japanese whaling fleet for two weeks covering 2,000 miles from the extreme Western end of their hunting territory near Commonwealth Bay in the Australian Antarctic Territory, to the Eastern side of the Ross Sea.
While Sea Shepherd has been pursuing the fleet, no whales have been slaughtered. During that time the activists have encountered the harpoon vessel Yushin Maru No 2 (Watch video), and clashed with the whaling spotting vessel Kaiko Maru (watch Sea Shepherd video). Sea Shepherd's helicopter has been able to gain visual contact of the whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru on a number of occasions.
"We have engaged them, we have stopped their whaling activities for two weeks and we have successfully chased them out of the Australian Antarctic Territorial waters," said Captain Paul Watson. "We now have to return to land to refuel. We don't have the luxury of refueling at sea like the Japanese fleet has. We don't have the resources to operate two ships down here and we don't have the support of Greenpeace to relieve us. We are doing the best we can with the resources available to us and we are having a significant impact on their kills."
After refueling, the activists hope to head back to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to continue to disrupt the Japanese commercial whaling activities being performed under guise of scientific research provisions of the International Whaling Commission.