Photos show Japanese boats 'whaling in internationally protected area'

Anti-whaling activists Sea Shepherd say they shot the footage showing dead whales in pools of blood

Anti-whaling activists have released images of a Japanese boat with whale carcasses on its deck operating inside an internationally protected area. 

WARNING: Graphic content

Members of the anti-whaling activist group Sea Shepherd reportedly spotted the Nisshin Maru sailing through the internationally recognised Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in Antarctica's Ross Dependency, within New Zealand's territorial waters, during the annual whaling season.

Footage released by the group reportedly shows the corpses of three minke whales, the deck around them streaked red with blood. Sea Shepherd claims that four whales were slaughtered on Monday morning and that the five Japanese vessels are being forced to stop.

“There's three carcasses on the ship, a fourth carcass has been cut up. There's blood all over the place, meat being carted around on this factory ship deck, offal and innards being dumped in the ocean,” Sea Shepherd Australia chairman Bob Brown told ABC News.

“That's just a gruesome, bloody, medieval scene which has no place in this modern world,” he added.

Mr Brown claims that the Nisshin Maru’s presence in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, was a “gross breach of international law”.

Commercially hunting whales is banned in the area according to the International Whaling Commission, but Japanese fleets allegedly capture the animals under a “scientific research” loophole in the moratorium on whaling.

Crew members walking amongst blood, allegedly from four minke whales, after they were cut up on the deck of the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru inside a Southern Ocean sanctuary, according to anti-whaling activists Sea Shepherd Crew members walking amongst blood, allegedly from four minke whales, after they were cut up on the deck of the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru inside a Southern Ocean sanctuary, according to anti-whaling activists Sea Shepherd

However, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully denied whaling was taking place within his country's waters, and claimed the site was considered international waters, as he condemned the “ pointless and offensive” practice.

“The New Zealand government has repeatedly called on Japan to end its whaling programme. We reiterate this message today,” he said.

A spokesman from Japan's fisheries agency said its programme was “in line with a research plan submitted to the IWC” and that it was “not aware of the existence of a whaling sanctuary so we don't want to comment on their arguments”.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry also stated that that research whaling was “not a violation or an abuse of a loophole in the international convention”.

“This is a legitimate right of the contracting party under Article VIII of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling,” it said.

Japan is allowed to hunt the animals for scientific purposes under an exception to a 1986 ban on whaling. But opponents argue the scientific program is a cover for commercial whaling because whale meat not used for study is sold as food in Japan Japan is allowed to hunt the animals for scientific purposes under an exception to a 1986 ban on whaling. But opponents argue the scientific program is a cover for commercial whaling because whale meat not used for study is sold as food in Japan

Each whaling season, Sea Shepherd and Japan engage in clashes that occasionally turn aggressive, with stink bombs, water cannons and ship collisions common features.

In the past, a Sea Shepherd boat sank after its bow was sheared off in a collision with a whaling ship and a Sea Shepherd activist spent five months in a Japanese jail after boarding one of the whaling vessels. 

Meanwhile, Australia has taken Japan to the International Court of Justice in an attempt to stop its whaling programme, with a verdict set for this year.

Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd said it caught up with all five of Japan's whaling vessels and found evidence of whale kills on one Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd said it caught up with all five of Japan's whaling vessels and found evidence of whale kills on one

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager

£30000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation based in Pea...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator / Warehouse Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This fast-paced award winning company based in...

Recruitment Genius: General Manager

£50000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of global logisti...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Manager - £70,000 OTE

£35000 - £70000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Manager (Vice President...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable