The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, determined to stop Japan’s whale hunt, might have had a decent start with their military-style drones and all, but one boat chasing a vessel off Antarctica has been damaged by a giant wave, setting back this season’s battle quite a bit.
The wave severely damaged a pontoon and cracked the hull of the boat, affectionately named Brigitte Bardot, which the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society sent out to seek and halt Japan’s annual whaling fleet. None of the 10 crew members were hurt, and there was littlerisk of the ship sinking before making it back to Australia.
The Sea Shepherd’s other ship, the Steve Irwin, was about 12 hours away from the ship at the time of the hit. It is escorting the boat 1,500 miles to Fremantle, Western Australia, and will immediately return to its hunt for whalers.
This isn’t taking all the Sea Shepherd’s efforts. They also have one more ship, the Bob Barker, who left to join the hunt on Thursday.
Japan’s whaling fleet kills roughly 1,000 whales a year, allowed through exceptions with the International Whaling Commission. The whales are caught under the restriction that they are used for research purposes as opposed to commercial, particularly food, purposes. Critics still say “research purposes” are a cover for the real intentions, as whale meat is sold in Japan.
Each hunt starts in December and lasts until around February. Over the past several years, the Sea Shepherd has sent boats through Antarctica to put a stop to the hunt, resulting in several violent clashes. There’s no saying whether or not the hunts will come to an end any time soon, or if the Sea Shepherd attempts will ever be successful. It continues to be a risky venture for both parties.