The Whale Wars Essay

Every December, a fleet of hungry, evil whaling vessels set sail from Japan to commence their annual hunt on the minke and humpback whales in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary in the Southern Ocean. At the same time there is a crew of passionate volunteers making ready their vessels to make the same journey to the Southern Ocean, but they are not going there to whale. They are going there to do whatever is necessary to make sure Japan does not kill any whales as it is illegal to kill whales in this sanctuary in Antarctica.

They are the Sea Shepherds and they operate under the United Nations World Charter for Nature. Which gives citizens the right to uphold laws when governments are too scared to do so. These are their battles this is their war. Sea Shepherd is a group of passionate non-violent volunteers that crew the four ships of Sea Shepherd that proudly fly their own version of the Jolly Roger on their ships. They head to Antarctica every year to do what they do best, find and shut down this illegal whale poaching operation by the Japanese whaling fleet.

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They utilize a helicopter, drones, and radar systems to locate the whalers. When they find them they know that they will do whatever is necessary to save the life of a whale from being shot through the back with a grenade tipped harpoon. They may find the three harpoon vessels early in the season but their ultimate and elusive target is the Whalers factory ship the Nisshin Maru. Where the whales are processed and then packaged into packs of whale meat to be sold in stores in Japan.

When they finally find the factory ship, all four Sea Shepherd vessels converge on the stern slipway where the whales are hoisted up into this floating abattoir of death. Once all the ships have arrived at the factory ship there is no way that another whale will be killed because they will not kill them if they cannot transfer them to be processed. Sea Shepherd uses their ships to block the transfer of these whales usually resulting in collisions and severe damage to their vessels.

All that matters to them though is the whales saved. Since 2005 when they started their annual trek to the Southern Ocean they have saved over 5,000 whales from being harpooned in a sanctuary where it is illegal to kill whales. Every year they number of whales killed is decreased in 2005 the whalers took 800 or so whales this year in 2013 it is estimated that they have taken no more than 75. Now that they have stopped they hunt all they have to do is follow them until the end of the season which is March 30th.

When the season is over and the whalers set course for Tokyo Japan to return home. Sea Shepherd rejoices every year that they escort the whalers out of the sanctuary where whales can swim free for another year. When they also set course for home which is usually Hobart, Tasmania in Australia. As they pull into port they are greeted as heroes coming home from war a greeted with fanfare and smiling faces so proud of what these champions of whales have accomplished in three months.

They are bought drinks, given gifts, and just celebrated they are celebrities in Australia, and heroes in the hearts of many. Every year this annual war takes place and it will take place for as long as Japan is whaling in Antarctica. The individuals on the ships give up so much to participate they miss Christmas and New year’s every year, but it is worth it to save whales. Awareness to this issue must be raised. The more people that support it the better chance there is of it being shut down once and for all.