ANTARCTICA – Thanks to the United States, Japanese whalers will have a new tool at their disposal when they embark on a journey to hunt whales in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean this week. The USS Momsen, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer on loan from the U.S. Navy, will assist the Japanese in tracking and dispatching some 333 Minke whales in the name of scientific research, Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s largest newspaper, reported today.
President Barack Obama granted Japan authorization to use the guided-missile destroyer after attending the global climate change summit in Paris, France, late last month. Mr. Obama, who is leading the charge to stem greenhouse gas emissions, pledged to help Japan significantly reduce the carbon footprint caused by a potential three-month long voyage into the treacherous Southern Ocean.
“The United States stands with Japan in the fight against climate change,” President Obama declared Wednesday afternoon after dispatching the USS Momsen to the Southern Ocean. “As Americans, no one understands the need for continued scientific research more than we do. That’s why I’ve asked our servicemen and women to provide logistical support to the Japanese as they embark on a mission to study the wonders of our earth.”
President Obama said that by making efficient use of the USS Momsen and its available resources, Japanese whalers should be able to accomplish in as little as a week what they’d initially hoped to achieve in several months. Using state-of-the-art naval weapons systems including the Aegis Combat System, Japanese whalers will be able to track and monitor their targets in real-time. “Thanks to the Americans, we’re already tracking two hundred and forty-five specimens right now,” said Captain Jiro Hayato of the Nisshin Maru.
Historically, the Japanese have used a variety of methods including harpoon guns for pacifying whales and other sea life, but thanks to the United States Navy, the ability to streamline what has been looked upon as an often painstaking task is no further away than the push of a button. Using the USS Momsen’s advanced tracking systems, Japanese whalers will be able to lock onto hundreds of whales at a time and then neutralize them using both anti-submarine torpedoes and the CWIS, a ship-mounted Gatling gun capable of firing seventy-five rounds a second.
Despite Japan’s best efforts to find humane ways to euthanize the whales, several countries, including Australia, have condemned the operation. Australian Attorney General George Brandis said his country is considering sending a Customs and Border Protection Service boat to shadow and document the whaling operation.
In 1986, the International Whaling Commission imposed a ban on commercial whaling. However, Japan has since been exempt from it due to their continued efforts to conduct scientific research.