Sea Shepherd activists prepare boat for action in Antarctic watersBy Alan Tristram
The Sea Shepherd organisation says its ship the Bob Barker now in Wellington will soon join its biggest effort to stop whaling in Antarctic waters.
It says ‘Operation Zero Tolerance’ will be supported by four boats, four captains, and crews of over 120 committed conservationists from more than 23 nations. They’ll be assisted by UAV drones, a helicopter, small boats, new tactics and thousands of supporters.
“Sea Shepherd’s 2012-2013 Southern Ocean campaign Operation Zero Tolerance will be the strongest fleet in the history of Sea Shepherd to prevent whaling in International Whaling Commission protected waters,” the groups says.
About two-thirds of New Zealand is within the Southern Ocean territory.
The Bob Barker now berthed near the Civic Centre in Wellington, is an ice-strengthened ex-Norwegian whaling vessel, tailed the factory ship the Nisshin Maru for over 5000km before the whalers abandoned their hunt successfully curtailing the 2011 -2012 whaling season with only 25% of intended quota taken.
The vessel is open for ship tours until Wednesday, December 14, before sailing to join the Sea Shepherd fleet.
When the Kāpiti Independent made a brief visit to the ship’s dock at the weekend, we were amazed by the youthfulness and dedication of the young crew members from around the world.
It almost seemed almost wrong that young men and women like them should have to risk their lives to struggle for a cause which so many Kiwis believe in.
Ship Manager Andrea Gordon says the whale migration to Antarctic feeding grounds for the Southern Hemisphere summer has begun and that these migrating whales ‘are the same whales the whalers are going down to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to kill.’
Sea Shepherd has a successful history of conservation and more than 3,600 whales have been saved during the past eight campaigns.
The whale kill diminishes each year and is attributable to Sea Shepherd direct action.
Captain Peter Hammarstedt of the Bob Barker says he’s embarking upon his eighth campaign to Antarctica and affirms that Operation Zero Tolerance aims to effectively shut down illegal whaling operations.
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