Whaling vessel limps into port

Whaling in Antarctic waters not only threatens whale populations – it also poses a huge risk to this particularly fragile, wild environment. Japanese whaling vessels have been known to refuel slap bang in the middle of these Antarctic waters: watch the footage.

Recently, Japanese whaling vessel, the Yushin Maru 2, was damaged in Antarctic waters and had to return to port. Australia has a longstanding policy not to allow whaling vessels to dock here so the hunting vessel slinked off to Surabaya, Indonesia.

But thanks to a great effort by local environmental groups in Indonesia, the Government there also said it wouldn’t be allowing the vessel to make repairs in order to head back to Antarctic waters to continue the killings. With the Yushin Maru 2 out of action, we believe that the Yushin Maru 2 wont be able to return to hunt whales in the near future … which means some whales are saved.

The incident highlights the ongoing environmental risk posed by the Japanese whaling fleet operating in these waters. For many years now, Greenpeace has highlighted the environmental dangers of the whaling fleet operating in Antarctic waters. Last year, we drew attention to the refuelling of the whaling fleet when we sent an inflatable boat in to delay the process. The fire aboard the whaling fleet’s mother ship, the Nisshin Maru in 2007 was another real example of the whaler’s threatening Antarctica’s environment.

Well, yesterday, an expert panel of lawyers proposed opening up a new front to challenge Japan’s whaling operations – the Antarctic Treaty System. The treaty system is designed to protect one of the most pristine areas of wilderness left on the planet from exploitation and has been signed by more than 40 countries.


  • Carolyn

    I was wondering what exactly Greenpeace was doing with the money donated specifically for ceasing Japanese Whaling. I notice Greenpeace has no vessel active this year.

  • Reece

    Hi Carolyn,
    Thanks for the question. It’s true that Grenpeace doesn’t have a vessel following the Japanese whaling Fleet this year. We announced this decision late last year after careful consideration of where we are in the campaign to end Japanese whaling.
    Greenpeace has had 30 years experience in campaigning against whaling with some great successes including ending whaling in Australia in 1978. From this history and from recent successes we’ve had in Japan we believe that the time is ripe for change within Japan and that’s why we are currently focussing our efforts there.
    Greenpeace is the only international organisation with a strong, on-the-ground presence in Japan. In recent polling, we discovered that 71% of Japanese people do not support whaling on the high seas. Our task is to convert that feeling into a change in Govt policy.
    And we are winning. Last year Greenpeace Japan exposed corruption within the whaling industry which has led to more questions about whaling than ever before.
    Greenpeace has sent a vessel to Antarctic waters 9 times in the past 20 years of Japanese whaling to harrass and document their destructive hunt. If in the future it is clear that sending a vessel is the best way to end whaling then we will not shy away from making that decision. But for now we are focussing our efforts in Japan where we believe we are close to seeing a decision that will see an end to Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean, not just this summer but once and for all.
    Reece Turner
    Whales Camapigner
    Greenpeace Australia Pacific
    P.S. You can find out more about our activists in Japan who are facing jail for putting pressure on the whaling program and support them here: http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/issues/whales/our-work/whaling-on-trial

  • Nathan w

    Greenpeace does little to stop whaling. Previous years that have sent there vessels down to Antarctica to merely “document” whales being killed and to take photographs for there fund raising campaigns. Furthermore there ignorance continues to cost countless lives of whales. If Greenpeace co-operated in conjunction with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, both could have a deeper impact on the Japanese whaling quota, possibly shutting down the operation by as much as 90%. However, because Greenpeace is more interested in posing for pictures with dead whales, they decline to have any involvement with Sea Shepherd.

    Greenpeace is getting no where fast on this topic. Sea Shepherd is the only non government organization doing anything about whaling. Each year they send there vessels down and they shut down the Japanese whaling fleet. Unlike Greenpeace who like to take pictures and hold up signs.

    It is evident that Greenpeace is simply a money raising organization, and i would strongly advise anyone to direct there donations elsewhere to an organization who actually spends there money on direct projects, rather then campaigns focused on making more money and fitting out there lavish offices.

    While i support Greenpeace’s causes, i don’t support there methods as they are purely for revenue raising. The two men from Greenpeace that were arrested in Japan is a direct result in the organizations incompetence and lack of focus on the issue, instead of being in the ocean protecting the whales, they were watching dead whale meet being transported across Tokyo.

  • Reece

    Campaigns around the world to stop environmental destruction have shown that direct action is only one tool to win – normally it takes more than this alone. We just have to look at the large public campaign in Australia in the 1970s that was supported by many groups. Swaying public opinion was crucial to stopping whaling.
    Greenpeace will never shy away from Non Violent Direct Action when it is the best way of achieving the campaign objective. But right now, ending Japanese whaling in the southern ocean means taking the fight to Japan.

  • Nathan w

    I notice you didn’t comment on the fact that your a revenue raising organization who prefers to take pictures or hold up pointless banners, or even make shapes out of sand. You are right, direct action is only one method, however in this case its the most effective as demonstrated by sea shepherd in last seasons campaign, cutting the Japanese quota by almost 50%.

    Previous years when Greenpeace has sent there vessels i can really not recall such effective measures, rather i recall Greenpeace taking pictures, holding up banners and sending a crazy man onto a dead whale carcass. I personally am unable to see what those actions do to save whales. Although not being 100% effective, the presence of your ships were enough to pressure the Japanese and cause disruption, combined with Sea Shepherds ships it was even more pressure.

    The fact that you have decided to sit on your hands this year and not send a ship goes to show that your campaign has lost touch, focusing on the two men who’s incompetence got them arrested when really you should be down there adding pressure to the Japanese.

    Its such a shame for an organization that raises millions and millions of dollars, that little is actually used on this campaign this year, & if the funds were used effectively you would be able to shut down the illegal Japanese operation.

  • Daniel McC.

    It’s really great, Nathan, the passion that you have for saving and protecting whales. Can you please explain the tactics that are used by the Sea Shepherds in the Southern Ocean? There is also the question of how they plan to connect with the Japanese people. Did you happen to visit Bondi Beach and see the sculpture of the whale or sign the petition for the ‘incompetent’ activists? Did you show respect for the monks that visited Bondi? Who blessed the work that was being done raising awareness about the black market of whale meat.
    Surely you are correct that Greenpeace does have suffienct money, but do you really think it’s a fact; that the organisation uses this as a fundraising tool? Or are you simply endeavouring to be inflammortory. And paint Greenpeace as a heartless Corporation. Are you aware that Sea Sheperd accepts money from Coca Cola, what are thoughts on that?
    Also the millions Paul Watson accepts from celebrities like Richard Dean Anderson’ Maguaver’.
    Is that credible? The people that donate to Greenpeace. Choose to do so. Credible, great word when describing Paul Watson. The supposed bullet that was fired at him, last year, and was lodged in his bullet proof vest. Is Maguaver still working on the forensics? Or is he on board the Steve Irwin teaching the crew how to launch RIB’s. And getting lost at sea.

    Howvever, it’s the voice of the Japanese people that will stop whaling. Combined with you and myself, and Sea Sheperd, IFAW, WWF, The Humane Society, the Australian Govt, Greenpeace, Project Jonah. And the millions of people around the globe who care about whales. Don’t forget this, a better use of your passion; would be directing your thoughts to The Japanese Govt. and sharing your love of whales with the Japanese people.

  • mickwoz

    nathan – interesting comments. What is different between what Sea shepherd have tried to do the last couple of years and what greenpeace has been doing for years before that – i recall them doing them doing this stuff back in the early 90’s. Clearly your memory is either selective or conveniently directed by sea shepherd themselves by the sounds of it. I recall image after image of greenpeace inflatables between whales and harpoons, i recall the mother ship on the run from the greenpeace ship and that the sea shepherd couldn’t catch up or were too busy losing people, i recall sea shepherd throwing smelly stuff on board a spotting boat (not even one that does the damage – who is the “avon ladies”). I recall a lot of posturing by the captain of sea shepherd about what he supposedly achieves. I also recall him threatening to sink a boat in the waters of the antacrtic – yeah, nice one.

    50% – rubbish. I notice the sea shepherd don’t even have a blog on their website – perhaps worried people might just point out some truths

  • snipe the crew

    you people endanger other humans…Because why? Whaleing is a proud job. These people are trying to make a living.PERSONALLY I THINK YOU SHOULD BE KILLED FOR INTERFERING WITH THESE SAILORS LIVES!!

  • Catherine

    I’m totally on your side, snipe the crew, on of the main resources for some nations or cities come from fishing/whaling industries, people in these areas are trying to make a living. Why do you guys have to interfere with it just because of your perception towards one type of animal. It’s not about cultural differences but some nations do rely on fishing/whaling as one of their main resources. Besides, people who are anti-whaling, on the other side, actually eat beef, but the fact is you need to clear out many forests to provide a huge grasslands to feed your cattles, what do you say on this, Greenpeace?

  • Somebody or country should honestly put a stop to Japans whaling. It is very cruel 🙁

  • Pete

    I would just like to say from seeing The Steve Irwin Sea Sheperd prog in action and what I have seen on the media and as I work for the media in Australia Photography wise, I feel Greenpeace is failing miserably in its efforts to STOP or Try and Stop the Killing of Whales KUDOS to Paul Watson Your Founder for getting out in their faces to put their life on the line to try and stop this Murdering of innocent Whales. I will no longer be supporting Greenpeace as I will be financially Supporting Paul Watson who is at least physically doing something to stop this culling and for Greenpeace to not even tell the Sea Sheperd where the jap fleet is, is just seen by all as Petty Pickering as Saving the Whales should be Paramount and the more the Jap whaling fleet is disturbed and thrown on peoples Teles the Better, Common Sense there, Made you all look very Stupid and does not mean you are part of what Paul Watson is doing you can still lay in the background while Paul Takes the Fight to Them and you can still take your photo’s and collect your supporters money which wont be mine.. Stop this Pickering and HELP STOP THE KILLING.