Feeds

Japan scrubs Antarctic whale hunt

Final tally: 508 whales, 1 crew member

High performance access to file storage

Japan's Antarctic whaling fleet has called it a day for this season following the recent fire aboard its main vessel the Nisshin Maru, Reuters reports.

The ship suffered an engine room fire earlier this month which forced a partial evacuation of the crew. One crew member died during the incident.

Although the 8,000-ton Nisshin Maru's engines were restarted over the weekend, Japan's Fisheries Agency said today that "given the damage to equipment from the fire, continuing whaling would be difficult".

Agency official Takahide Naruko told a press conference in Tokyo: "We have been research whaling for 20 years, but this is the first time we have had to cut the expedition short. It is very unfortunate."

He added that the reduced tally of whales - 505 minke whales and 3 fin whales since November last year, as opposed to target figures of 850 and 10, respectively - wouldn't have "a major effect on the price of whale meat".

That's not an end to the matter, however. The Institute of Cetacean Research, a "partly government-funded body that oversees the whaling programme", today published a "letter of protest" against environmental activist organisation Sea Shepherd.

The letter slams Sea Shepherd's persistent harassment of the whaling fleet as "spiteful and mindless terrorism". The ecowarriors rammed Japanese vessels, "threw harmful chemical substances and smoke bombs and released ropes and nets to try to jam the ships' propellers", according to the letter.

Regarding a possible link between Sea Shepherd's activities and the Nisshin Maru blaze, Naruko said: "We don't think there was any direct connection. On the other hand, we can't say for certain that there was none."

The Nisshin Maru is due back in Japan at the end of March, after which an investigation will determine the cause of the fire. Greenpeace, which has itself been shadowing the Japanese fleet in its ship the Esperanza, today confirmed the Japanese fleet had left Antarctic waters.

Greenpeace claims to have sent a radio message to the Nisshin Maru which declared: "We acknowledge your grief at the loss of your crew member. But this must be the last time your government sends you to the Southern Ocean to hunt whales and threaten the Antarctic environment. For the sake of the environment, the whales and your crew - never again!" ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
Get your MOON GEAR: Auction to feature Space Race memorabilia
Keepsakes from early NASA, Soviet programs up for bids
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.