The anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd has deployed a drone aircraft to track the Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctic waters. The use of the drone gives the conservation group the advantage of persistent surveillance of the location and activities of the ships. Despite a worldwide ban on whaling in an international treaty in 1987, Japan has continued, claiming scientific pursuits.
Sea Shepherd has been in active in confronting the ships for years, and the standoffs are tense and often have included direct confrontation. The animosity has even resulted in collisions, with the Sea Shepherd vessel the Ady Gil sinking after it collided with a Japanese whaling support vessel in 2010.
With the drone, the group gains the advantage of being able to track the ships despite tactics of the fleet to barricade and stop pursuit. “We can cover hundreds of miles with these drones and they have proven to be valuable assets for this campaign,” said Captain Paul Watson on board the Steve Irwin.
Read more about the drone in this Sea Shepherd report.