Japanese Company Builds New Whaling ‘Mother Ship’ Capable of Voyaging to Antarctica
A Japanese company’s plan to construct a new whaling vessel capable of voyaging to Antarctica has raised concerns of a potential resumption of commercial whaling operations in the region.
Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha revealed it was building a new “mother ship” with a range of 13,000km and the ability to sail for 60 days. The ship will use the “mother-ship method,” in which smaller vessels hunt whales before the carcasses are returned to the mother ship for processing.
Hideki Tokoro, the company’s president, said the ship aimed to carry on Japan’s “whaling culture” and help with food security during times of crisis.
“We want to contribute to Japan’s food security,” Tokoro said. “We designed the ship to be able to travel as far as the Antarctic Ocean, in the hope it will be useful in times of food crisis. Unless a new mother ship is built, we cannot pass on our whaling culture to the next generation.”
The plan has sparked concern among environmental groups, including Greenpeace, which condemned the practice as “brutal and unnecessary.” Richard George, a senior campaigner at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said whales and their habitats are already threatened.
“We simply can’t afford to have a whaling super-ship hunting whales in southern waters,” George said. “Commercial whaling is brutal and unnecessary and there is no place for it.”
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Australia’s environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, affirmed the government’s opposition to commercial whaling, while also reaffirming the Albanese government’s commitment to a global moratorium on commercial whaling.
“I am strongly opposed to whaling,” Plibersek said. “The Australian government is committed to upholding the global moratorium on commercial whaling and preventing a return to Southern Ocean whaling.”
She also said the government was aware of reports of the new whaling vessel, but that the Japanese government had provided assurances it “has not provided financial support for the ship.”