Please select your home edition
Edition
InSunSport - International - GR

Christmas Day Clash- Sea Shepherd Drones find Japanese Whaling Fleet

by Sail-World Cruising on 27 Dec 2011
Peter Brown Launching Drone Nicole Montecalvo From Steve Irwin .. .
While the rest of the lucky sailing world were either lounging in cockpits on pre-prepared Christmas snacks or at home with the family on Christmas Day, there's not much Christmas aboard in the Southern Ocean where there is a David and Goliath clash going on between Sea Shepherd and the Japanese Whaling Fleet - with one difference. Sea Shephard is back with a nifty strategy - drones. (see footnote)

The Sea Shepherd crew have emailed to say that they actually intercepted the Japanese whaling fleet on Christmas Day, a thousand miles north of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. This year they have three ships and 88 crew to attempt to stop the whaling.


The Sea Shepherd ship, Steve Irwin, deployed a drone to successfully locate and photograph the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru on December 24th. Once the pursuit began, three Japanese harpoon/security ships moved in on the Steve Irwin to shield the Nisshin Maru to allow it to escape.

This time however the Japanese tactic of tailing the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker will not work because the drones, one on the Steve Irwin and the other on the Bob Barker, can track and follow the Nisshin Maru and can relay the positions back to the Sea Shepherd ships.

'We can cover hundreds of miles with these drones and they have proven to be valuable assets for this campaign,' said Captain Paul Watson on board the Steve Irwin.

The drone named Nicole Montecalvo was donated to the Steve Irwin by Bayshore Recycling of New Jersey, and Moran Office of Maritime and Port Security, also of New Jersey.

Captain Watson having received reports from fishermen when the Japanese ship passed through the Lombok Strait waited south of the strait at a distance of 500 miles off the southwest coast of Western Australia. Sea Shepherd caught the whalers at 37 degrees South, far above the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

'The chase is on for the next 1000 miles,' said Quartermaster Eleanor Lister of Jersey (U.K.).

With the Steve Irwin taking up the resources of three of the Japanese ships the Bob Barker remains clear of a tail and the Brigitte Bardot is clear to scout out the factory ship, having superior speed to the harpoon vessels.


The Sea Shepherd crew have found the Japanese whaling fleet before a single whale has been killed.

'This is going to be a long hard pursuit from here to the coast of Antarctica,' said Captain Watson. 'But thanks to these drones, we now have an advantage we have never had before – eyes in the sky.'

About the drone:
A long-range drone is defined as an unmanned aerial vehicle that does not require human operation and can fly independently or be operated remotely. The drone named Nicole Montecalvo has assisted in locating Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean previously, and has assisted in operations against blue fin tuna poaching operations off the coast of Libya. The drone Nicole Montecalvo was delivered on board the vessel Steve Irwin by the Vessel Security Officer during transit to Antarctica while in search of the Japanese flagship, Nisshin Maru. For more information about the drone itself, please visit www.bayshorerecycling.com.



Footnote update:
Brigitte Bardot has made a distress call after being damaged by a wave

The 'Brigitte Bardot' was chasing a Japanese whaling ship in six metre swells when a wave slammed into the port side of the vessel, cracking its hull.

The ship, which has a crew of ten, is 1,500 nautical miles south-west of Fremantle.

There are British, American, Australian, Canadian, Belgian and South Africans on board.

The skipper is confident the 'Brigitte Bardot' will stay afloat until help arrives despite the crack getting wider as seas continue to pound his ship.

Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson, who is on board the Sea Shepherd flagship the 'Steve Irwin', says he is fighting heavy seas to reach the distressed ship.

He expects to reach it early tomorrow morning.

Pacific Sailing School 660x82 1Zhik ZKG 660x82Sail Exchange 660x82 1

Related Articles

'The Ocean is Broken' - without fish, there can be no birds
The Pacific really shocked us, its lack of fish - and because there were no fish, neither were there any birds. I first noticed the lack of birds sailing Turkey's coastline.We were so used to birds when close to any coastline- coming up the Red Sea was a delight. We dropped a line when we needed another fish, found one within minutes. But it was the Pacific that really shocked us, its lack of fish - and, no fish meant no birds. Now a sailor who has just sailed from Australia to Japan tells a similar story
Posted on 23 Oct 2013
Alternative energy - being embraced by the sailing world
Within the cruising world of sailing alternative power is old news, now the racing world is catching up fast. Renewable energy is a hot and sometimes controversial topic on land, but within the sailing world wind generators are old news, and being 'independent of the grid' is taken for granted.
Posted on 27 May 2013
Royal Yacht Squadron leads the armada against windfarm plan
Royal Yacht Squadron is orchestrating a campaign against the world's largest wind farm off the south coast of England Britain's most prestigious sailing club, the Royal Yacht Squadron, is orchestrating a campaign against the largest wind farm ever planned in the world, off the south coast of England. It fears the Navitus Bay wind farm could impact on the main sailing route from the Isle of Wight to the south west, including the Fastnet Race, which starts in Cowes and finishes in Plymouth.
Posted on 9 Apr 2012
Whale Wars - Australian protesters transferred from Japanese whaler
The three Australian protestors on a Japanese vessel Shonan Maru No. 2 are being brought back to Australia. The three Australian protestors on the Japanese vessel Shonan Maru No. 2 were successfully transferred to the ACV Ocean Protector this afternoon and will be brought back to Australia.
Posted on 14 Jan 2012
SOS Ocean Racing setting up another Round Australia record attempt
Never one to sit still, SOS Ocean Racing’s founder is at it again. Ian Thomson is keen to put together another Around A Never one to sit still, SOS Ocean Racing’s founder is at it again. Ian Thomson is keen to put together another Around Australia World Record attempt.
Posted on 6 Nov 2011
Dogs join Ocean Environment Action Group
Is your dog passionate about the ocean environment? No longer does he have to bark in vain, he can be a 'Salty Dog'. Is your dog passionate about the ocean environment? If so, no longer does he have to bark in vain - Sailors for the Sea have a new category of membership - 'The Salty Dog' Membership
Posted on 18 Mar 2011
New Alliance to save whales AND sailors
Campaign group and sailors to work together for better environmental practice at sea for whales London-based campaigning organisation the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the organisation running the Global Ocean Race 2011-2012 (GOR) announce a unique partnership to seek ways to prevent collisions between whales and yachts. The partnership between a race organisation and an environmental organisation will benefit all cruising sailors, not only those who race
Posted on 15 Mar 2011
Extinction predictor 'will help protect coral reefs'
More than a third of coral reef fish species are in jeopardy of local extinction from the impacts of climate change on c More than a third of coral reef fish species are in jeopardy of local extinction from the impacts of climate change on coral reefs, a new scientific study has found.
Posted on 17 Feb 2011
SOS Ocean Racing Day 11 - Interesting would be an understatement
‘Interesting would be an understatement for last nights events.' ‘Interesting would be an understatement for last nights events.' It is day eleven into Ian Thomson's solo sailing world record attempt. Save Our Seas Ocean Racing departed Airlie Beach on the fifth of May at 10:30:20 in an effort to break the world record for sailing non-stop solo around Australia. Ian's mission is about raising awareness of what the damage plastic bags do to our environment.
Posted on 15 May 2010
Saves Our Seas Ocean Racing - Day 3
Life onboard SOS Ocean Racing has, to put it in the words of Jessica Watson, 'Become a little interesting' Life onboard SOS Ocean Racing has, to put it in the words of Jessica Watson, 'Become a little interesting' It is day three into Ian Thomson's solo sailing world record attempt. Save Our Seas Ocean Racing departed Airlie Beach on the fifth of May at 1030 in an effort to break the world record for sailing non-stop solo around Australia.
Posted on 7 May 2010