'Slaughterhouse': Woman's mission to bring down whalers

FOR 65 days, Seventeen Seventy woman Wyanda Lublink has scoured the southern Antarctic seas for illegal Japanese whalers.   

As the captain of MV Steve Irwin, Wyanda is leading Sea Shepherd's 11th campaign, Operation Nemesis, to stop the harpooning of whales by the Japanese. 

1770 LARC! Tours Skipper Wyanda Lublink on the MV Steve Irwin for Sea Shepherd.
1770 LARC! Tours Skipper Wyanda Lublink on the MV Steve Irwin for Sea Shepherd. Sea Shepherd

  Messaging The Observer from the vessel, the 1770 LARC skipper said their main focus was monitoring the Nisshin Maru, also known as "the Slaughterhouse".   

Still enraged by the discovery of a harpooned whale on board the Japanese ship in January, the former Agnes Water woman wants to see the Australian Government take action against illegal whaling.  

She and the volunteer crew on MV Steve Irwin put themselves in the firing line, literally, to save whales from a bloodied death.   

So far they have covered 8,500 nautical miles.   

"We will always try to stop the harpoon vessels from killing any whales by using our ships, the MV Steve Irwin and Ocean Warrior, and we can use our small boats and even our helicopter," she said.   

  "If we cannot stop the killing, we will try stop the transfer of the whales from the harpoon vessels onto the NM by blocking their slipway (on the back of the ship)."  

She said the dangerous mission isn't over yet with the operation ongoing until the whaling season ends likely in March.  

The "slaughterhouse" is their main focus and its three harpoon vessels that look for and kill whales.   

She said the whales killed by the "slaughterhouse" are for the Japanese whaling fleet which claims they are used for "scientific research".  

"(The whales) need to be offloaded within six hours," she said.   

"If they cannot do that within that timeframe, the whale meat is 'off'.   

"This clearly shows that their killing has nothing to do with research.  

"The whale meat end up on the market ... so it's commercial whaling and that is illegal here."   

1770 LARC! Tours Skipper Wyanda Lublink on the MV Steve Irwin for Sea Shepherd.
1770 LARC! Tours Skipper Wyanda Lublink on the MV Steve Irwin for Sea Shepherd. Sea Shepherd

 The former Australian Navy lieutenant is part of Sea Shepherd's 11th whaling campaign, Operation Nemesis.  

The crew is monitoring the southern Antarctic waters, also an Australian Economic Exclusive Zone and established whale sanctuary.   

"This is all happening in Australian waters but the Australian Government doesn't want to do anything," she said.   

"The Australian Government finds the friendship with Japan more important ... Most Australians are behind what we are doing down here, but the Government refuses to act."   

After catching the NM on January 14 photos and videos of the ship and the harpooned whale went viral.  

In January, forced to address the issue just days after hosting Japan's Prime Minister, the Australian Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg condemned the whalers.   

"The Australian Government is deeply disappointed that Japan has decided to return to the Southern Ocean this summer to undertake so-called 'scientific' whaling," Mr Frydenberg said.   

"It is not necessary to kill whales in order to study them," he added.  

Photos and videos from the harpooned whale were handed to the Australian Government.  

1770 LARC Tours owner operator Neil Mergard said he and his team supported Ms Lublink's ventures.   

"All the team at 1770 LARC! Tours are so very proud of their workmate Wyanda and her efforts on the MV Steve Irwin for Sea Shepherd," Mr Mergard said.  

"Here in the Town of 1770 we live in paradise surrounded by ocean and life, and the protection and preservation of our oceans is paramount to a healthy planet."