Sea Shepherd celebrates a christmas for the whales having located the whaling fleet on Christmas eve and intercepted the fleet on Christmas day before a single whale has been killed this season.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Foundation has located the Japanese whaling fleet 1,000 miles north of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary before a single whale could be slaughtered. Using an aerial drone launched from the Steve Irwin, Sea Shepherd located the Nisshin Maru factory ship on Christmas Eve and intercepted the fleet on Christmas day at 37 degrees south off the Western Australian coast.
"We can cover hundreds of miles with these drones and they have proven to be valuable assets for this campaign," said Captain Paul Watson on board the Steve Irwin.
The drone is named Nicole Montecalvo and was donated to the Steve Irwin by Bayshore Recycling of New Jersey, and Moran Office of Maritime and Port Security, also of New Jersey.
When the Japanese whaling fleet passed through the Lombok strait local fisherman sent a report to Sea Shepherd. The Steve Irwin was waiting about 500 miles south of the strait off the coast of Western Australia to intercept the fleet.
Three harpoon ships have surrounded the Steve Irwin to allow the Nisshin Maru to escape. The two Sea Shepherd vessels, the Bob Barker and Brigitte Bardot remain clear to find and chase the Nisshin Maru.
Sea Shepherd have drones on board the Steve Irwin and Bob Barker, with the Brigitte Bardot having superior speed to any of the Japanese whaling vessels.
"This is going to be a long hard pursuit from here to the coast of Antarctica," said Captain Watson. "But thanks to these drones, we now have an advantage we have never had before - eyes in the sky."
- Sea Shepherd media, Dec 24, 2011 - Sea Shepherd Intercepts the Japanese Whaling Fleet with Drones