The crew of a Japanese whaling ship stranded in Antarctic waters by a fatal fire were attempting yesterday to repair its engines so that they can reach safety by their own power rather than accept a tow from Greenpeace, an official said.
Peter Williams, deputy director of the rescue agency Maritime New Zealand, said the threat of an environmental disaster from the 1,000 tonnes of fuel aboard the 8,000-tonne Nisshin Maru was not immediate because the weather forecast was good for the next three days.
"But our concern is that conditions can change very quickly in the Southern Ocean," Williams said.
The crew had established that the ship had not suffered structural damage, he said.
The Nisshin Maru is the only ship in a Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean able to process whale carcasses and the season may have to be abandoned if the ship is inoperable.
New Zealand officials and environmentalists have expressed concern that the stricken factory ship -- left without engine power by the fire on Thursday and carrying 500,000 liters of heavy oil and 800,000 liters of furnace oil -- could threaten the Antarctic's biggest penguin rookery at Cape Adare, about 175km away.
Williams said he did not know what the crew had done with the body of a 27-year-old crewman killed in the blaze that was found below deck on Saturday. A cause of the blaze has not been announced.
The Nisshin Maru was being assisted by three ships of the Japanese whaling fleet, the largest a 9,000 tonne tanker, he said.
But the Greenpeace ship at the scene, Esperanza -- a converted Russian tug -- was the most suitable to provide a tow, he said. The whalers have refused Greenpeace's offers of assistance.
Any commercial tug was at least a week away and one with icebreaking capability might not be available, he said.
The US Coastguard icebreaker Polar Sea had left the scene and was headed to the southern Australian port of Hobart, Williams said.
Japan's Fisheries Agency said on Saturday officials had not given up hope of reviving the vessel, though they were not sure if the expedition could go on.
The fleet planned to hunt up to 945 whales from mid-December to the middle of next month. It was not immediately known how many whales have been killed so far.
Japan says its annual whale hunts, begun after the International Whaling Commission imposed a global ban on commercial whaling in 1986, are for research. The meat from the whales they catch is sold as food.
Henry Tong (湯偉雄) and Elaine To (杜依蘭) were preparing to spend their first wedding anniversary in separate prison cells until their acquittal for rioting during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. There were gasps and tears of relief in court on Friday last week as a judge declared prosecutors had failed to prove that the couple took part in clashes with police in July last year. The pair walked free in a ruling that has potential consequences for hundreds of other protesters facing similar charges. However, they have a long journey ahead as they try to rebuild their lives and business. “We have already been punished,”
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged