A new whaling ship sets sail in Japan

Japan prepares for the opening of the whaling season with an impressive new whaling vessel that would aim to exterminate cetaceans in the Southern Ocean

Japan is preparing to reintroduce whaling activities with a new vessel leaving port soon. The ship, however, is not for cruising or research purposes but is a massive whaling ship named Kangei Maru. It serves as the mother ship for Kyodo Senpaku, replacing the previous Nisshin Maru from the same Japanese whaling industry.

Construction and specifications of Kangei Maru

The Kangei Maru was constructed in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture. A ceremony was held to wish the crew safe navigation as they embark on whale hunting expeditions. Weighing over 9,920 tons, measuring 367 feet in length, and 69 feet in width, Kangei Maru is designed for extended voyages along the Antarctic coasts—a known whale sanctuary.

This vessel is capable of lifting whales weighing up to 77 tons.  The whaling process involves harpooning, flaying, and butchering whales for their meat and fat, all of which will be done on board starting this May as the whaling season resumes amid controversy and protests.

Controversy and international response

Paul Watson, the founder of Sea Shepherd, has labeled the ship a “new death machine with eyes on the Antarctic,” announcing forthcoming actions to defend the whales.

Whaling in Japan: a contentious practice

Commercial whaling is a bloody and controversial practice also undertaken by nations like Iceland, Norway, and Greenland, aside from Japan. Despite the 1986 ban by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), Japan continued its whale slaughter under the guise of “scientific purposes.”

Not even interventions by the International Court of Justice have halted this massacre, as the activity is not genuinely for scientific research. Japan has resumed hunting whales after withdrawing from the IWC.

Whale meat consumption in Japan has been declining, and the industry has been slow to recover. With the introduction of the Kangei Maru, this could change, potentially leading to the slaughter of hundreds of whales. A renewed onslaught is about to begin, with new tools ready to turn the waters red.

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