First Greenpeace alerted us to 2 000 tons of meat from endangered fin whales being shipped to South Africa en route to Japan from Iceland.
Then reports of a vessel carrying 200 tons of whale meat and seeking to refuel in Port Elizabeth, South Africa were made made. Personally, I thought that someone somewhere became confused over the Alma and reported that it was carrying 200 tons of Whale Meat – this has now been cleared up and confirmed that all references are to the vessel, Alma. See – I am so glad I got your Ass fired ……… for some interesting insult hurling.
Greenpeace initially called on the South African government to refuse port services to the 2000 ton shipment via a public online petition saying; “Your voice will make our submission stronger. Stopping this shipment of whale meat will make the supply from countries like Iceland to Japanese markets much harder, blocking the only option for Icelandic whalers to sell their meat.”
“As South African leaders have taken such a firm stand on the issue of Rhino Poaching, and have sought international help on that front, we believe they should do the same when it comes to the prevention of whaling activities,” concluded Greenpeace.
To protect the species, commercial trade in fin whales or their meat is not permitted by CITES, although three countries, Iceland, Norway, and Japan did not agree to this and the trade continues.
A number of concerned citizens have been tracking this shipment’s progress and have identified the vessel carrying the whale meat as the Alma.
The Alma’s details: IMO: 9140968; MMSI: 212856000; Call Sign: P3MF8; Flag: Cyprus; Type: Reefer; Gross Tonnage: 3817; DeadWeight: 4000; Length x Breadth: 97.6m x 15.7m; Year Built: 1997; Status: Active. Her current destination is marked as Tokyo and ETA is 5 May 2014.
One can track these vessels as they cross the oceans, BUT, only if the vessels activate their their AIS – AIS (Automatic Identification System) is an International Maritime Organization (IMO) standard requiring all vessels of 300 tons and over, and all passenger vessels, to carry an AIS transponder. The transponder broadcasts information such as vessel name, position, speed and course plus information such as dimensions and the details of the current voyage. The AIS transmitter includes GPS capability for very accurate positioning.
The latest position of the Alma as reported by MarineTraffic.com on 12 April 2014:
The Alma seems to have turned on her AIS when approaching Algoa Bay – one presumes in order to ask permission to enter port but, as the track shows, she sailed past Port Elizabeth and her heading, based on her last position on 12 April 2014, seems to refute the rumours that she was headed for East London. Madagascar seems the most likely next port of call and it has been two days since her last public position report.
Japanese whalers are also known to turn off their AIS when leaving whaling grounds in order to thwart organisations like Greenpeace from intercepting them.
- Iceland’s lone whaling crusader attempts to ship around 2,000 tonnes of fin whale meat to Japan.
- Ship of shame!.
- Alma on Marine Traffic.
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