The anti-whaling wars in the Antarctic Ocean are moving up a level with the introduction of a new boat to the anti-whaling fleet. The Sea Shepherd has just launched their new vessel, known as 'Gojira', to chase after Japanese whale boat harpooners who will be out hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. The whaling season has just kicked off and hopes lie in Gojira being able to take on the Japanese fleet.
The Gojira, which means the giant monster Godzilla in Japanese, is an Australian-flagged, 33-metre stabilised monohull speed machine and will be fast enough to keep up with the Japanese boats explains Jeff Hansen, the Sea Shepherd's Australian director. "We are not going to release the speed (it can reach), we are just saying that it is going to go faster than a harpoon ship" he said.
Image above: copyright Eye in the Sky Magazine; top image copyright Sea Shepherd
In addition the latest news from the Japanese whaling fleet is looking promising. The boats have still not left port in Japan and this means they will be unable to start whaling on December 20th which is the normal start date. In fact, they might not be able to start now until early January. This is great news for the Antarctic whales as they will get to live to see the beginning of the New Year.
The annual mission by the Sea Shepherd boats usually starts in December and lasts until March. This time they will arrive in Antarctica before the Japanese whalers for the first time ever. The new boat Gojira will support the other Sea Shepherd ships in chasing after the Japanese Whalers, including the Bob Barker and the Steve Irwin for the annual pursuit across Antarctica. "We're in a very, very good position right now," Hansen said. "We're the best prepared we've ever been."
Last year's devastating collision between the Ady Gil and the Japanese whaling vessel resulted in the sinking of the Ady Gil. This year the Sea Shepherd hopes to have learnt their lessons from that experience. By having an Australian–flagged ship involved as well might just mean increased support from the Australian Government to really take on the Japanese whaling fleet with a full arsenal.
Editor Note: In May 2011 the Sea Shepherd vessel Godzilla (Gojira) was renamed the MV Brigitte Bardot after Sea Shepherd received a copyright infringement claim by the Godzilla (Gojira) copyright owners.