BREAKING: Japanese Vessel Found With Slaughtered Whale On Board

Credit: Sea Shepherd

On Sunday, a helicopter with Sea Shepherd spotted the Japanese Whaling Processing Ship (Nisshin Maru) with a slaughtered minke whale on deck. According to International Business Times, the ship was previously located in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary and the act of having a partially processed whale on deck is being perceived as a defiance of an international court ruling against Japans whaling activities.

Said Captain Adam Meyerson of the Ocean Warrior, Sea Shepherd’s Southern Ocean patrol ship, in a statement: 

“The whale killers from the Nisshin Maru were caught red-handed slaughtering whales in the Australian Whale sanctuary. The Steve Irwin [the group’s helicopter] has shut down their illegal operations and caught them trying to hide the evidence.”

According to Sea Shepherd, two harpoon ships were spotted near the Japanese vessel. As soon as the Steve Irwin helicopter was spotted, the ships’ crew covered the dead mink whale with a tarpaulin. Wyanda Lublink, the Captain of Sea Shepherd’s MY Steve Irwin, commented that there’s no question the crew knew their actions were wrong.

“The fact that the Japanese crew went to cover up their harpoons and the dead minke whale on deck just shows that they know what they’re doing is wrong,” stated Lublink.

Credit: Sea Shepherd

This incident is the first of its kind to be reported since 2014. Reportedly, the Japanese lost their court battle with Australia and New Zealand in the International Court of Justice three years ago, as the whaling practice was found to lack scientific merit. Nonetheless, the country persisted and developed a new ‘research program’ that allowed for 333 whales to be killed each year, a decline from the previous 1,000. Because the program failed to meet the International Whaling Commission’s (IWC) scientific standard, it was rejected in 2015. It might be illegal to slaughter whales, but Japanese vessels have continued to do so, which is why Sea Shepherd vigilantly scouts the seas for signs of the illegal activity.

Managing director of Sea Shepherd Australia, Jeff Hansen, explained in 2015 that the process of killing whales is a brutal, inhumane one. He commented:

“They’re [whales] hit with an explosive harpoon that goes straight into their body, hooks come out and shrapnel is sent through their body, it’s a terrible bloody death… these whales can take up to 30 or 40 minutes to die.”

It’s estimated that 8,200 whales have been killed by Japanese vessels since 1986. Now that another ship has been found harboring the body of a dead minke whale, it’s likely others continue to hunt the large mammals, as well. 

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