New “Godzilla” Stealth Ship to Stalk Japanese Whalers

Gojori1 The Sea Shepherd's new anti-whale vessel, the Gojira, which means Godzilla in Japanese,  will monitor the Japanese whaling fleet in this summer's anti-whaling offensive, its skipper, Locky MacLean, says, vowing to avoid any collisions with the Japanese whalers. The Japanese whaling fleet left its home port five days ago.The 30-year-old Canadian has been with Sea Shepherd off and on for 11 years and captained the Steve Irwin last year.

"I have got no intention of colliding with a steel vessel," Captain Locky MacLean said  after the Gojira docked in Hobart for fuel and supplies before heading to meet its sister vessels Steve Irwin and Bob Barker in the Southern Ocean.

It replaces the Ady Gil, which was sunk after a collision with a Japanese whaling vessel last summer. The collision led to the arrest of its captain, Pete Bethune, in January.

Last month Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson said it was unlikely Capt MacLean and the Gojira would become involved in any "cowboy" behaviour in the Southern Ocean.

"Keeping the ship in one piece is definitely on my priority list," Capt MacLean said yesterday.

The Sea Shepherd Society has high hopes for its mission, saying it hopes to "stop the whaling industry in its tracks".

Much of this hope rests on the 36m, $1.2 million superfast vessel Gojira, which can go twice as fast as the two other vessels. Capt MacLean said he and his eight crew would rely on finely tuned tactics and speed to make an impact on the whalers. Capt MacLean hopes the Gojira will be able to intercept the fleet in the Tasman Sea or long before it gets to whaling grounds near Antarctica.

"This will be the boat that is able to get away from the harpoon ships," he said. "The whaling fleet over the last couple of years have been using security vessels to tail us but there is no way they will be able to tail this boat – we can just step on the gas and say see you later."

Capt MacLean said the Japanese already appeared to be at a disadvantage this year. "They seem to have less ships, they left late, they may not have a refuelling vessel so they might have to quit early," he said. "And we have got the strongest fleet we have ever had so everything seems to have fallen into alignment this year."

The Gojira is expected to leave its home port, Hobart, Australia in the middle of this week.

Jason McManus via 


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