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In the SSCS Press Release this morning came news of an interesting new tactic by the MS Gojira the use of weather balloons. Also we have a new term in use by the SSCS that of "harpoon hooligans" which NAUTICAL LOG really wishes we had thought that one up. But we shall be using it along with "nautical thugs" in our fair and balanced posting describing this seasons whaling and anti-whaling activities. Anyway lets get back to those balloons.

The SSCS are using high altitude weather balloons with cameras attached and radar detection capabilities. If this tactic is successful it will increase the surveillance range to about 150 nautical miles. When the JWF use their radars, which operate continuously when underway at sea, the factory ship MS Nisshin Maru with her powerful longer range radar signal will be detected. From this data a position plot can be worked out and the JWF factory ship tracked from a distance.

The MS Gojira is not currently under surveillance by a JWF vessel so the balloon launching took place without interference. These balloons are somewhat unwieldy to launch and the vessel should be stopped. Having done this many times when serving in both Canadian Coastguard (CCG) weather ships and occasionally in Merchant Navy (MN) vessels active in the weather watch programme, NAUTICAL LOG knows it can be a tricky operation.

In addition the ice blocking the Ross Sea is under movement and channels will open up. At present there is a narrow opening and the JWF must decide if they are going to have the MS Nisshin Maru enter it to whale in the Ross Sea. The danger in doing that is if the weather changes it can cause ice shifts and the factory ship could quite easily become trapped. This would not please the harpoon hooligans and the nautical thugs would have nothing to do!!

Good Watch.


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