On March 8, 2012 it was reported by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society that the Japanese Whaling Fleet has returned home leaving the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary at peace, for now and hopefully forever.
The hunt for whales virtually ended on March 5th, 2012 when Peter Hammarstedt, the new captain of the Sea Shepherd vessel the ‘Bob Barker‘, and his crew locked on to the Nisshin Maru (factory vessel) eliminating any chances of whale deaths from then on by the fleet. The Bob Barker began following this floating death machine on March 1st but did not close in until March 5th. Following this event the harpoon ships (Yushin Maru(s)) discontinued the tailing of the Bob Barker and the fleet left the waters of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, restoring justice to the exact definition of a sanctuary.
“The kill figures will not be released by Japan until April, but in my opinion they will not get over 50% for certain and my prediction is it will not be above 30%. Not as good as last season, but much better than all the previous years.” Said Captain Paul Watson. “It has been a successful campaign. There are hundreds of whales swimming free in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary that would now be dead if we had not been down there for the last three months. That makes us very happy indeed.” Capt’n Watson was correct in this estimation… the save number was not as high as last years campaign but still very effective and much better than the previous years. The official figures (provided by Save Misty The Dolphin) are below.
Of course while we strive for that ever so near end to this blood shed against these gentle giants, there is always that lurking chance that these hunters will return next year and continue this reign of terror. But, as always, Sea Shepherd will be there too stopping it to the best of their abilities in the 2012-2013 Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign ‘Cetacean Justice’. Sea Shepherd will return down to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in December 2012 with 4 vessels, 2 helicopters, 4 drones, and 120 passionate volunteers.
“If the Japanese whalers return, Sea Shepherd will return. We are committed to the defense of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.” Said Captain Paul Watson. “No matter how long it takes, no matter how risky or expensive. The word “sanctuary” actually means something to us and that something is worth fighting for.”