Sea Shepherd’s vessels in the Southern Oceans intercepted the Japanese whaling fleet on Christmas day, one thousand miles north of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The Steve Irwin deployed a drone which located and photographed the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru on 24 December. Sea Shepherd are attempting to blockade the factory ship, which means that the harpoon vessels are unable to hunt. Subsequently, three Japanese harpoon/security ships moved to shield the Nisshin Maru to allow it to escape but the presence of the drones (one is also on the Sea Shepherd vessel Bob Barker) means that the position of the factory ship can be updated for future interdiction.
The early interception of the whaling fleet means that the Sea Shepherd will have a good chance to disrupt and possibly stop the fleet from whaling this season.