December 1, 2010

Anti-Whaling Activists Unveil New High-Speed Interceptor

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a group of Australian anti-whaling activists, has announced the christening of a new, $4 million, high-speed vessel that they claim is the fastest and strongest interceptor in the organization's history.

The craft, dubbed Gojira (the Japanese name of famous movie monster Godzilla), was christened earlier this week during a ceremony held at the Fremantle fishing boat harbor in Western Australia, according to a press release posted Monday to the organization's official website.

According to that press release, the 100-foot monohull vehicle was already en route to Tasmania, where it would join the rest of the Sea Shepherd's fleet to battle whalers in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. It will replace the Ady Gil, which was lost in January following a conflict.

"This vessel can outrun any Japanese vessel which means that we will have the element of surprise," Jeff Hansen, Director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, told the Daily Mail on Wednesday. "We can find the factory ship and the factory ship is the one we're after. If we can find the factory ship we can shut down whaling."

The goal, Hansen told the Daily Mail, it to prevent their foes from reaching their 1,000 whale quota in the Southern Ocean sanctuary. Gojira is the first Australian-registered vessel in the group's 33-year history, and according to a statement released by Hansen on their website, it will solidify the continent's position as "the most passionate defender of whales in the world."

Just how fast is the ship? Hansen isn't saying.

"We are not going to release the speed (it can reach), we are just saying that it is going to go faster than a harpoon ship," he told the AFP on Wednesday, though he did note that he believed it would help the group reach their destination before the whalers for the very first time.

"This vessel is purely to be used for its speed advantage," Hansen added. "We're in a very, very good position right now. We're the best prepared we've ever been."


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