"MELBOURNE -- The Japanese whaling fleet has left the waters of the Antarctic Treaty Zone, ending whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary for this season, according to data from the whale defense organization Sea Shepherd Australia.
Early Tuesday morning, the Automatic Identification System signal of the Nisshin Maru was picked up shortly before the Japanese factory vessel crossed 60° South latitude.
The Nisshin Maru is on a northerly course with its destination set for Japan, and arrival scheduled in about three weeks.
In the 10 years of Sea Shepherd’s Antarctic whale defense campaigns, this is the first time that the whalers have activated their AIS while still in their self-allocated whaling grounds. In the past they have kept their locations secret to avoid interception by the Sea Shepherd conservation ships."