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.