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Home Japan shocks the world and builds the largest whale-killing ship on the planet: the impressive 112,6-meter vessel promises to sail to the remote seas of Antarctica to hunt these giant mammals

Japan shocks the world and builds the largest whale-killing ship on the planet: the impressive 112,6-meter vessel promises to sail to the remote seas of Antarctica to hunt these giant mammals

10 June 2024 to 05: 05
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Japan launches new $48 million whaling mothership to keep industry afloat as world goes on alert

Japan launches new $48 million whaling mothership to keep industry afloat as world goes on alert

On May 21, Japan marked a new chapter in its long whaling history with the launch of the Kangei Maru, its latest and most advanced whaling factory ship. Departing from the port of Shimonoseki, this impressive $48 million vessel boasts colossal dimensions of 112,6 meters long by 21 meters wide and weighs approximately 9.299 tons. With the ability to reach speeds of up to 13.000 kilometers, the Kangei Maru is capable of sailing to the remote seas of Antarctica.

The Kangei Maru, acting as the mother ship, plays a crucial role in receiving whales caught by smaller vessels, where the meat is slaughtered, checked and frozen in an onboard processing unit. Hideki Tokoro, president of Kyodo Senpaku, the company that owns the ship, highlighted at the departure ceremony: “We are united to preserve the culture of whaling forever.”

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Fin whale hunting is extremely worrying: They are the second largest whale species on the planet

This advance comes after the Japanese government authorized, on May 9, the hunting of fin whales, bringing to four the number of whale species commercially hunted in Japan: minke, sei, Bryde's and fin whales. Global conservation organizations are in a state of alarm over Japan's decision to expand its whaling activities, interpreting it as a major setback in efforts to protect these majestic marine mammals.

“The new plans to hunt fin whales are extremely worrying. They are the second largest species on the planet. Hunting causes immense suffering due to the size of these animals, not to mention the significant time between the first harpoon and death,” said Nicola Beynon, head of campaigns at Humane Society International (HSI) in Australia.

Adam Peyman, director of wildlife programs at HSI, added: “All whale species face a range of threats in their marine habitats, including climate change, noise pollution, ship strikes and bycatch in fisheries. There is no nutritional, scientific or moral justification for killing these ocean giants.”

Japan has restarted commercial whaling under the guise of scientific research.

Since leaving the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 2019, Japan has restarted commercial whaling under the guise of scientific research. Countries such as Norway, Denmark/Grønland, Iceland, Russia and Japan have ignored the IWC moratorium, perpetuating whaling.

Japan's recent initiative to revitalize whaling includes a vigorous public relations campaign aimed at combating “one-sided anti-whaling media.” Although some whale populations have shown recovery thanks to the IWC moratorium, many remain threatened by new challenges such as climate change and pollution. The suffering inflicted on whales during commercial hunts remains a central ethical concern.

With the launch of the Kangei Maru, Japan reaffirms its commitment to the cultural and economic controversy of hunting these giant mammals, even in the face of growing global opposition.

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