A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. – Mohandas Gandhi

It’s halfway through Japan’s whaling season in the antarctic, and the Sea Shepherd seems to have the “research” ship, Nisshin Maru, on the run. The Bob Barker, one of Sea Shepherd’s fleet, chased the Nisshin Maru 1,000 nautical miles outside of Japan’s designated “research” territory for whaling, and it won’t be stopping any time soon. You can run, but you can’t hide from the Sea Shepherds! — Global Animal

Feb. 15, 2011: Factory Ship Says Sayonara To Whaling Grounds

Andrew Darby, The Sydney Morning Herald

Sea Shepherd Ship Bob Barker Chases Whaling Ship Nisshin Maru

The Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru is said to have left its whaling grounds far behind as it tries to shake off a conservationist pursuit, and instead is approaching the Antarctic Peninsula below South America.

Since being located in the north-east corner of the Ross Sea last Thursday, the whaling fleet’s key vessel has steamed mainly eastward at speed, closely followed by the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker.

Today the Sea Shepherd leader, Paul Watson, said the Nisshin Maru was now more than 1000 nautical miles (1830 kilometres) outside Japan’s self-declared “research” zone for whaling, and still heading east. 

He said the Bob Barker reported their location as near Thurston Island in the Bellingshausen Sea, or about 600 nautical miles from the peninsula.

“They may be thinking they can run the Bob Barker out of fuel,” Mr Watson said. “The Bob has more than enough fuel to return back west with them or to carry on east with them.”

He said the course taken by the Nisshin Maru raised speculation it might steam on past Cape Horn to circumnavigate the Antarctic and reach the far western end of its whaling grounds, below the Indian Ocean.

“If so that will knock a great deal of time out of their killing season,” Mr Watson said.

Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research refuses to comment on the movements of its ships.

Now half-way through its season, the whaling fleet has been under sustained siege from Sea Shepherd activists this year.

They occupied two of its three harpoon ships for weeks, delayed a refuelling operation, and, according to the ICR, fouled the propellors of one of the harpoon ship Yushin Maru No.3.

This ship was accompanying the Nisshin Maru, but dropped away yesterday, apparently unable to keep up, Sea Shepherd said.

The other two harpoon ships have not been located.