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Anti-whaling ship the Steve Irwin is currently in pursuit of the Japanese ship Nisshin Maru in the Ross Sea, more than 2,000 nautical miles south-east of Tasmania.

The Sea Shepherd Society ship found the Japanese whaling fleet just before Christmas, but had to return to Hobart to refuel.

But they found a lucky break in the ice, and were able to track down the Nisshin Maru and harpoon vessels Yushin Maru Numbers 1 and 2 in the middle of the Ross Sea about 9.30am today.

Mr Watson said the vessel was engaged in full pursuit of the three ships and expected to keep them within view, despite contending with loose ice, strong winds and fog.

“When we found them this morning it looked like they were in the process of a whaling operation – the vessels were all stopped altogether.

“Then when they saw us, they began running.”

“As long as we’re chasing them they’re not going to kill whales,” he said.



whales.jpg[Photography: David Reilly, ABC]

Rescuers have shifted 12 stranded pilot whales to a different beach in north-west Tasmania in an attempt to get them back to sea.

The 12 surviving long-finned whales were part of a maternal pod of 65 mothers and calves which was discovered yesterday stranded at Anthony’s Beach.

Fifty-three of the whales died when the pod became beached.

UPDATE: Eleven whales have been returned to the open ocean.

Rescuers have been working since early yesterday to save the long-finned pilot whales, the only survivors from a pod of 65 that became beached near Stanley.

It is hoped the group will be able to rejoin another migratory pod.

Parks and Wildlife Services manager Chris Arthur says 12 whales, up to three metres long, were transported 17 kilometres along the Bass Highway on trucks equipped for the purpose to deep water at Godfreys Beach.


A southern right whale has thrilled cruise passengers by taking a leisurely break in the River Derwent off Sandy Bay.

The whale was spotted cavorting off Bellerive early in the week and spent most of yesterday in the waters between Maning Reef and Wrest Point Casino.

“We caught a glimpse of it just off the casino … it just rolled over a bit,” Peppermint Bay Cruise guide Ben Brown said.

“We had quite a few international tourists and a good number from the mainland, so it was pretty exciting.”

He said the tourists were surprised to see a whale so far up the river.

[Via The Mercury]