FRIDAY HARBOR, Washington - January 9 - Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s Operation Leviathan is underway to stop the Japanese whaling fleets’ illegal slaughter of over a thousand whales. With its newly acquired ship named the M/Y Robert Hunter Sea Shepherd is on its way down to the Antarctic.
The organization’s flagship M/Y Farley Mowat is expected to arrive in the whaling area during the second week in January where the flagship will rendezvous with the organization's faster ship Robert Hunter. The two ships with over 60 international volunteer crewmembers, a helicopter, and numerous smaller vessels will confront the Japanese whalers on the high seas. The volunteers represent thirteen nations with crewmembers from Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Hungary, Great Britain, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States.
The latest Sea Shepherd vessel is named after Canadian Robert Hunter, who along with Captain Paul Watson was a co-founder of the Greenpeace Foundation. Bob Hunter died in May 2005 and at his funeral Captain Watson pledged to name a ship in his honor. Robert Hunter’s daughter Emily Hunter has joined the ship’s crew for the campaign to defend whales in Antarctica. “Bob and I were in the very first inflatable that blocked the harpoons of the whalers in 1975,” said Captain Paul Watson. “He was my shipmate from 1971 onward with Greenpeace and later joined me on many Sea Shepherd campaigns. With this ship, he continues to be by my side in spirit and together we continue to defend life in the oceans.”
The Japanese whaling fleet is determined to illegally slaughter more than 1,000 whales in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary. Japan has doubled its illegal quota of piked (Minke) whales to just over a thousand, and will be targeting endangered fin whales, and for the first time since the early eighties, 50 endangered humpback whales. "Sea Shepherd is the only organization in the world willing to go to the Antarctic to intercept the Japanese whaling fleet and shut them down," said President and Founder of Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson. "This is an international effort to uphold international law against a pirate whaling operation."
Thousands of Australian supporters have joined the Society in our fight to save the whales. Among them, advertising guru John Singleton and Bluetongue Brewery are supporting the campaign through the launch of their website www.whalesafebeer.com .The Farley Mowat flew the flag of Fremantle, Western Australia, when the ship departed. The flag had been given to the ship by Fremantle Mayor Peter Tagliaferri with the request that we fly it in the Southern Oceans.