Sea Shepherd sends balloons to spy on Japanese whalers

January 10, 2011 10:02 am 

CANBERRA, Jan. 10 — Giant weather balloons are part of the latest artillery in the war between anti-whaling protesters and Japanese whalers in Southern Ocean, Australia's media reported on Monday.

According to ABC News, members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society launched the helium-filled balloons on Friday, using the giant weather balloons to stalk Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean.

The floating technology allows the "Operation No Compromise" campaign team to keep tabs on its target four Japanese whaling ships. The balloons are part of the 90-member protest group's arsenal, which includes two ships and the futuristic, superfast 36m carbon trimaran Gojira.

Captain Paul Watson said the balloons are fixed with cameras and radar detectors, and relay the ships' positions back to the protesters via satellite.

"The Nisshin Maru and the Yushin Maru 1 are hundreds of miles away from us," he told ABC News on Monday, adding "we keep them on the run but we have to know which way they're going and the best way to do that is that we sent these balloons up to 30,000 feet."

Watson said the balloons are just one type of surveillance tool the protest ships are using, and the balloons were helping crew keep an extra close eye on the Japanese as a narrow icy opening into a traditional whale slaughter area in the Ross Sea was opening.

Last week both the Greens and the Opposition said the Australian government should send a ship to monitor the hunt, as well as confrontations between the Japanese fleet and environmentalists.

However, Australian Federal Government said it was unlikely to send a Customs or Navy ship to the Southern Ocean to monitor Japan 's whaling fleet. (PNA/Xinhua)

ALM/ebp

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