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The Panamanian registered and Korean-owned vessel, Sun Laurel, is believed to be a refueling tanker for the Japanese whaling fleet. Photo: Sea Shepherd

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has severed the fuel supply to Japanese whaling ships in Southern Ocean as this season’s campaign to stop Japan’s whaling fleet heats up… at least according to Sea Shepherd.

In a statement, Sea Shepherd Australia says that their new ship, the SSS Sam Simon, has located the Japanese whaling fleet’s refueling tanker, the Sun Laurel, and is blocking the ship’s access to the whalers approximately 1,250 miles South of Albany, Australia.  This move effectively cuts off the whaler’s fuel supply in some of the most remote waters on earth.

“A massive blow has been dealt today to these illegal whale poachers from Japan,” commented Director of Sea Shepherd Australia, Jeff Hansen. “To have an Australian-registered vessel, the country who’s federal laws these poachers are in contempt of, shut down their fuel supply is a crippling result.”

Meanwhile, the SSS Bob Barker continues to pursue the factory ship, the Nisshin Maru. “The whale butchering ship Nisshin Maru can run, but it cannot hide. With an aerial fleet of drones and a helicopter assisting our fleet, we can continue to track, chase and disrupt these poachers,” said Captain Peter Hammarstedt, aboard the Bob Barker.”

Sea Shepherd, as part of this year’s Operation Zero Tolerance anti-whaling campaign, first intercepted the Japanese whaling fleet on January 29th and since then, the whalers have scattered and fled westward, says Sea Shepherd.

“This entire affair down here is like a giant game of battleship over hundreds of thousands of square nautical miles,” said Sam Simon Captain, Luis Manuel Pinho, of Ocean Reef, Western Australia. “There’s blocking, intercepting, bluffing, manoeuvring for positions and advantages, cutting and maintaining supply lines, avoidances and precautions. The objective of the Japanese whalers is to kill the whales and our objective is to make sure they don’t.”

We’ll be keeping a close eye on the campaign and will update with any new developments.

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