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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Nisshin Maru Fire Extinguished

The Nisshin Maru, the Japanese whaling ship hunted, haunted and harassed by Greenpeace and other anti-whaling activist organizations, suspended whaling operations due to a fire that occurred earlier in the month. Vessel will go home for repairs about 350 whales short of its harvest goal. Good news for the 350 whales, and good news for whale watch boat operators like myself.

Greenpeace vessel Rainbow Warrior and other anti-whaling vessels have been battling the Nisshin Maru for years. These encounters have included interference engagements and collisions. The Japanese vessel, largest of the whaling fleet, is ostensibly engaged in whale research. If you believe that I've got some Florida swampland to sell you.

Fire aboard the vessel claimed the life of one crewman and damaged much of the whale processing plant. Vessel had lost power for some ten days and took on a port list. There was fear, according to Greenpeace activists, of a serious oil leak and the vessel coming ashore on a known penguin sanctuary. However, neither of these situations materialized

Nisshin Maru was assisted by another Japanese fishing vessel, the Yushin Maru No 2., and taken in tow back to Japan. It is not yet clear if the stricken vessel has regained power or her ability to make way.


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