'/> Uncommon Hours: Early success for Sea Shepherd in the Southern Ocean
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Early success for Sea Shepherd in the Southern Ocean

Sea Shepherd’s first clashes with Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean took place on New Year’s Day.

A day earlier Sea Shepherd’s fleet caught up with Japanese whaling vessels.

The crew of the Yushin Maru #3 using their water cannons against Sea Shepherd’s Delta team in the Zodiac boat. Photo by Gary Stokes.

“We’ve got them before they were able to kill a single whale. They are not whaling today and our challenge now is to make sure they don’t kill any whales in the coming days,” said Sea Shepherd campaign leader Captain Paul Watson.

Clashes between the Japanese whalers and Sea Shepherd involved several high-speed chases and near collisions as the ships dodged boulders of ice in the jagged ice floes. The whalers turned their high-powered water cannons on Sea Shepherd’s crew, which responded with rancid butter and other foul-smelling substances. There were no injuries.

"What an awesome way to begin the New Year," said Locky MacLean, captain of the Gojira. "Our three vessels dancing dangerously through the ice packs locked in confrontation with the three harpoon ships of the Japanese whaling fleet. It was both deadly and beautiful. Deadly because of the ice and the hostility of the whalers and beautiful because of the ice, and the fact that these three killer ships are not killing whales while clashing with us."

The whaling season runs from December through February.

Sea Shepherd crews are still trying to locate the Nisshin Maru factory ship.

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