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Sea Shepherd winning the battle

G-Online

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have likely prevented any whales from being killed so far this year.

Yushin-Maru-chasing-Zodiac

1 January, 2011: The crew of the Yushin Maru #3 using their water cannons against Sea Shepherd’s Delta team in the Zodiac boat.

Credit: Gary Stokes, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Gojira-catches-Yushin-Maru2

5 January, 2011: The Gojira catches up to the Yushin Maru #2.

Credit: Barbara Veiga, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Sea-Shepherd-Delta-team

9 January, 2011: One of these Zodiacs from the Sea Shepherd Delta team initially slowed the Yushin Maru #2 enough to throw it off the tail off the Bob Barker on Sunday, but it was damaged due to heavy seas; this delay allowed the Yushin Maru #2 to locate the Bob Barker once again.

Credit: Barbara Veiga, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

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Conservation activists from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society suspect they have prevented Japanese ships from harpooning any whales since they first caught sight of the ships thirteen days ago on New Year's Eve.

"For the first time in Sea Shepherd's history, we have located the whalers before they had a chance to kill a single whale," said Laura Dakin of Canberra from the Steve Irwin.

Two of the three Sea Shepherd ships - the Bob Barker and the Steve Irwin - are being tailed by Japanese ships the Yushin Maru No.2 and the Yushin Maru No.3, distracting them enough to prevent whaling from taking place.

A third Sea Shepherd vessel, the Gojira, is chasing the Nisshin Maru westward towards Tasmania. It is assumed that the last unaccounted Japanese ship, the Yushin Maru No.3 is together with the Nisshin Maru, which is moving too fast for whaling to have taken place.

The sleek and fast Gojira is equipped with a helicopter, and has been using cameras and radar detectors attached to high altitude weather balloons to track the movements of the Nisshin Maru from over 150 miles away.

Close encounters:

There have been three ‘close encounters’ between the fleets to date: on Saturday 1, Wednesday 5 and Sunday 9 January. The most recent was a retaliation from the Sea Shepherd on the Yushin Maru No.2 to throw the Japanese off the tail of the Bob Barker.

Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) have accused the anti-whaling activists of using dangerous grenades in Sunday's encounter, however the Sea Shepherd website says that this is not the case - they only deployed harmless stink bombs.

No support:

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters from the Sydney Morning Herald that "this is a remote, inhospitable, dangerous place", warning that the government will not be able to help if the Sea Shepherd gets into trouble. "Any sense that somehow you can act irresponsibly and somehow someone miraculously turns up to save you - that is not the way the world works," said Gillard.

But Watson responds that, "I have seven years of experience in Southern Ocean waters so I do not need Prime Minister Gillard to tell me that this is a remote, inhospitable, dangerous place. I also don't expect Australia or anyone else to 'miraculously' turn up to save us. We do indeed know how the world works".

"We are marine conservationists trying to stop the poaching of whales in a whale sanctuary and we can take care of ourselves should the need arises, just as we always have."

"As for acting irresponsibly," said Watson, "I can't think of anything more irresponsible than allowing poachers to slaughter threatened and protected whales in an internationally established whale sanctuary."

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To keep up-to-date with the Sea Shepherd's activities, an iPhone and iPad application was launched today. You can purchase it by clicking here.