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Operation Nemesis

About Operation Nemesis 2016-2017

The Operation Nemesis mission, the campaign fleet, the history of Japan’s illegal whaling, and Sea Shepherd’s past Antarctic whale defense campaigns.

The Mission

Operation NemesisOperation Nemesis is Sea Shepherd’s 11th Antarctic whale defense campaign in the Southern Ocean. Our mission is to once again stop the Japanese whaling fleet from illegally slaughtering whales in an internationally-recognized whale sanctuary under the guise of “scientific research”.

Two Sea Shepherd Global vessels, the Ocean Warrior and the MV Steve Irwin, departed from Australia’s Southern Operations Base the first weekend of December carrying 51 crew members from eight countries. Their goal is to intercept the Japanese fleet, which departed from Japan in late November, and prevent them from killing their self-allocated quota of 333 minke whales.


The Fleet & Crew

Ocean Warrior

Captain Adam Meyerson and 14 crew from eight countries on board.
The Ocean Warrior FB Page:

Built in 2016 with the financial support of the Dutch Postcode Lottery, the British People’s Postcode Lottery and the Svenska Postkod Lotteriet, the Ocean Warrior is the first custom-built ship in the Sea Shepherd Global fleet. Measuring 54 meters in length and equipped with a powerful water cannon, the Ocean Warrior can reach speeds of 30+ knots. Operation Nemesis is its first campaign. Read more about the Ocean Warrior here.

<em>Ocean Warrior</em>Crew Photo Operation Nemesis

MV Steve Irwin

Captain Wyanda Lublink and 35 crew from six countries on board.
The MV Steve Irwin FB Page:

Built in 1975 and purchased by Sea Shepherd in 2007, the fleet’s flagship vessel is named in honor of the late Australian conservationist Steve Irwin. It measures 53 meters in length and reaches a maximum speed 16 knots. The MV Steve Irwin has served in seven Antarctic Whale Defense campaigns since 2007.

MV <em>Steve Irwin</em><em>Steve Irwin</em> Crew for Paul Watson's Birthday

Why We Fight: 30 Years of Illegal Whaling in the Southern Ocean

1987: Despite a global moratorium on commercial whaling since 1986, Japan has been killing whales in the Southern Ocean in the name of “scientific research” since 1987.

1994: The International Whaling Commission (IWC) established the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, an area of 50 million square kilometers surrounding Antarctica. This sanctuary is recognized by all IWC members, except for Japan, which continued its annual hunts unopposed.

2002: Sea Shepherd embarked on its first Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign in the Southern Ocean, the only organization willing to take direct action to intervene against the Japanese fleet’s illegal slaughtering of whales.

2014: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled that Japan’s whaling program in the Antarctic was not for scientific purposes and ordered its permits revoked. Japan suspended its Southern Ocean whale hunt during the 2014-2015 season.

2015: Japanese fleet introduced a new “scientific” program to kill 4,000 minke whales over a period of 12 years, yet this was also rejected by the Scientific Committee of the IWC. That same year the Australian Federal Court fined the Japanese whaling fleet AUS$1 million for “willful contempt” of a 2008 injunction banning the killing of whales in a designated Australian Whale Sanctuary. It remains unpaid.

2015-16: Despite these international legal rulings and public outcry, no governments were willing to stop the Japanese fleet from returning to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary once again to slaughter over 300 minke whales, most of them pregnant females.

2016-17: This season Sea Shepherd has returned to the Southern Ocean on its 11th Whale Defense Campaign, Operation Nemesis, named for the Greek goddess of inescapable justice. As the Japanese whaling fleet have expanded their hunting grounds and lowered their self-allocated quota, the biggest challenge will be to find and stop them before they’ve killed 333 minke whales.

Nisshin Maru hauls minke whale up its slipway


Past Antarctic Whale Defense Campaigns

Operation Nemesis is Sea Shepherd’s 11th anti-whaling campaign against the Japanese fleet in the Antarctic whale sanctuary. To date, we have saved over 5000 whales from the Japanese harpoon ships.

  • 2013-14: Operation Relentless – 784 whales saved
  • 2012-13: Operation Zero Tolerance - 932 whales saved
  • 2011-12: Operation Divine Wind - 768 whales saved
  • 2010-11: Operation No Compromise – 863 whales saved
  • 2009-10: Operation Waltzing Matilda – 528 whales saved
  • 2008-09: Operation Musashi – 305 whales saved
  • 2007-08: Operation Migaloo – 500 whales saved
  • 2006-07: Operation Leviathan – 500 whales saved
  • 2005 and 2002: These campaigns laid the foundations of our subsequent efforts

 Operation Divine WindOperation LeviathanOperation No CompromiseOperation RelentlessOperation Zero Tolerance


Press Contacts

For more information, high-res images, video reels, or interview requests:

Heather Stimmler, Sea Shepherd Global Media Director
Tel: +339 7719 7742 (EUROPE, GMT+1)

Adam Burling, Media Coordinator Sea Shepherd Australia
Tel: +61 409 472 922 (AUSTRALIA, GMT+11)