The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is infamous in whale protection circles for its hard-edged tactics in defending marine wildlife. In the past, the group has scuttled and disabled whaling vessels docked in ports, rammed other ships, and attempt to board fleets at sea. Their aggressive actions are seen by many conservationists as bold, but by the American, Canadian and Japanese governments, their methods have brought many to consider them as terrorists. However, their battle against whalers has taken a new turn, as the group announced they now have a drone to spot, track, and stop whaling fleets.

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According to ABC News, the anti-whaling group have used their observation craft to locate the Japanese whaling fleet, which is currently 1,000 miles north of the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary. Beaming images to the crew of the vessel Steve Irwin, the team has been able to spot and photograph a whaling factory boat.

Sea Shepherd’s Jeff Hansen has said that now that they now where the factory ship is, they can now move in and take action. This could mean anything from blocking the fleet to ramming it.

“Right now we’ve deployed a drone which has gone up and taken aerial surveillance which has located the factory vessel, but we’ve also picked up three harpoon ships on our tail and security vessels but that’s not going to deter us in our mission,” Hansen said. “This is a very effective tactic that we did last year, it was so effective that the whalers went home over a month early and called it quits and we saved 858 whales out of a possible 1,035. This year we’re sitting for a full, complete victory in the sense that no whales will be killed and that’s our mission.”

By locating the fleet before it even enters the whale sanctuary, Hansen believes his team will be able to stop them before any whales can be killed.

“Now all we have to do is simply get on the stern of that factory vessel and basically block them,” said Hansen.

It is hard to know where to stand on Sea Shepherd’s actions. While it is good to see people and conservation groups stopping the hunt of these beautiful and intelligent creatures. It is hard to get behind actions that can cause injury and even death to other people.

Where do you stand on Sea Shepherd’s actions?

+ Sea Shepherd

Via ABC News

Images: guano and Eloise Claire