Conservation group Sea Shepherd has unveiled the latest addition to its anti-whaling arsenal, a $12 million custom-designed ship.
The Ocean Warrior is docked in Hobart after sailing from Turkey, where it was built with money from Dutch lotteries.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has described the ship as a “game changer” in its fight against the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.
Captain Adam Meyerson said it was faster and better equipped to keep up with the whaling fleet’s much larger ships.
There are calls for the New Zealand and Australian Navy to prevent Japanese whaling in the Antarctic Ocean.
Two whaling vessels have departed the port of Shimonoseki to hunt 333 minke whales, despite the International Court of Justice ruling it illegal.
Sea Shepherd’s Kiwi coordinator, Michael Lawry, says Australia and New Zealand have done good work in the past.
“The next thing they could do, and we hope they would do this, would be for the Australian and New Zealand Governments to send a patrol ship down to the Southern Ocean to escort their ships out of the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary.”
Sea Shepherd is heading to the Antarctic Ocean in two weeks’ time to confront the Japanese whaling fleet.
Mr Lawry says the international community needs to act.
“If they get away with it, and they’re the fourth biggest economic power in the world, other countries will say, ‘Well why can’t we go to the Southern Ocean and kill 333 minke whales as well?’ And then you’ve got even more of a problem.”
But he says his crew is better equipped than ever.
“The ship we have is the Ocean Warrior, and it’s a game changer. We were donated $12 million by the Dutch postcode lottery, and we’ve built a new ship – high-speed, long-range.
“For the first time, we’ll be able to outrun their fleet and really take it to them this year.”