Four ships have left Japan for the whaling grounds in the Antarctic.
And they are being shadowed by a fleet of three anti-whaling ships run by Sea Shepherd.
Japan’s Kyodo News Agency says three whaling ships have left Shimonoseki port in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
One is a a surveillance ship and the other two are whalers which will join the mother vessel Nisshin Maru.
Japan plans to hunt 935 minke whales and 50 fin whales until about March.
There is still a question over whether Australia will send a surveillance vessel, as indicated by the Coalition during the election campaign.
The Southern Ocean patrol vessel, the ACV Ocean Protector, was reported to be near Christmas Island, a long way from the Antarctic.
ABC radio reports that Sea Shepherd’s chairman, former Greens leader Bob Brown, says:
“The Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt promised in May this year in the run to the election that if the Japanese whaling ships went south there’d be Customs vessels from Australia going south. So we need to hear from the Prime Minister that that promise to the Australian people will be kept.”
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