The Sea Shepherd have officially unveiled their new high-tech anti-whaling vessel, the MV Gojira ("Godzilla" in Japanese), and are heralding the ship as yet another tool in their fight against illegal whaling by the Japanese.
Originally called the Ocean 7 Adventurer, the Gojira is a 115 ft stabilized monohull twin diesel powered vessel capable of a max speed of around 24 knots. The Sea Shepherd spent around $250K for new engines and propellers -- so the official max speed may in fact be a bit higher.
Captain Paul Watson intends for the vessel to be a "harpoon interceptor", effectively filling the role of the Ady Gil, which sank last year after a collision with a Japanese whaling vessel.
"The factory ship is the one we're after and if we can find it, we can shut down whaling," Sea Shepherd spokesman Jeff Hansen told reporters in Australia. "We can save 10 to 12 whales a day by blocking the slipway on the factory ship, so really this vessel is going to play a huge part in shutting down the Japanese whaling fleet for the entire summer."
The Sea Shepherd's latest Antarctic campaign, Operation No Compromise, is reported to cost some $4 million and will include three vessels, an upgraded helicopter (Hughes 500) and over 80 volunteers from 16 different nations; including Japan.
Like previous years, Animal Planet will once again have a camera crew on board chronicling the action for their wildly popular series "Whale Wars". Last year's season was one of the highest rated ever in the history of the network.
Operation No Compromise kicks off December 2nd out of Hobart, Tasmania.