A former Japanese whaling vessel anchored Tuesday at the Australian city of Hobart, ready to join the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in its annual campaign against the Japanese hunting of whales in Antarctica, media reports said.
The 56-meter (184-foot) ship, christened the Sam Simon in honor of one of the co-producers of the television series "The Simpsons," who put down the money to buy it, previously operated in waters of the northwest Pacific as part of the Japanese government's scientific whale-research program, ABC reported.
The one-time whaler will join the Sea Shepherd flotilla made up of the Steve Irwin, the Bob Barker and the Brigitte Bardot to attempt a boycott of Japan's annual whale hunt in the Southern Hemisphere summer, which should begin in January.
Capt. Paul Watson, the leader of Sea Shepherd, told ABC that he hopes they can put an end to whaling in Antarctica once and for all and that the goal of the conservation group is to stop Japan from catching a single whale.
"Last year they could only capture 26 percent of their quota and the year before just 17 percent. We have dubbed this year's effort Operation Zero Tolerance," Watson said.
During the last Southern Hemisphere summer, Sea Shepherd forced the Japanese flotilla to halt its hunting season in March after a confrontation in Antarctic waters. EFE