Japanese Whaling Harpoon Vessel in Port Louis, Mauritius

The 'Yushin Maru 2' harpoon ship (bottom) and the 'Mirai' Research Ship (large white vessel top)
On Friday 27th December the Japanese harpoon vessel docked at Quay E in Port Louis, Mauritius after leaving Japan on December 6th, 2019. The notorious whale killing vessel has been sent on a “non-lethal” expedition by the Japanese Fisheries to survey populations of Minke and other whales in the frigid waters off Antarctica. This is the first “non-lethal” expedition after Japan withdrew from the IWC in January 2019 and the first year that whales will not be killed in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Also in port arriving from Colombo on the same day and scheduled to depart on the same day, (Dec 30th, 2019) is the Japanese research vessel Mirai. The ‘Mirai’ is operated by JAMSTEC (Japanese Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology) and carries a full spectrum of oceanographic research equipment.
We cannot confirm if the two ships will be operating together in Antarctica, however their simultaneous arrival and departure dates would be very much of a coincidence.
Source: http://www.jamstec.go.jp
The Yushin Maru No.2 alongside in Mauritius. The harpoon has been removed, although the mounting is still in place and covered with a green tarpaulin.
The Yushin Maru No.2 from above.

This is most likely an innocent port call to refuel and possible take on crew/scientists, however we will continue to monitor both vessels movements so long as they keep their AIS transponders switched on as required by maritime law whilst at sea underway.  Shortly after these images were taken the Yushin Maru No.2 switched off it’s AIS yet it is currently still in Port Louis. We will be watching to see if the ‘Yushin Maru No.2 switches its AIS back on before departing, as running without would be illegal and raise questions as to it’s plans and intentions.

We are hopeful that “real” research may actually be undertaken this year, as opposed to the previous decades of bogus research conducted by the Japanese ICR whaling fleet as a cover for illegal commercial whaling. If the ‘Mirai’ is to be operating with the ‘Yushin Maru No.2’ this may be the start of actual research, however we must remember that whaling is still being carried out in Japan’s waters where this year a quota for 227 whales will fall victim to Japanese harpoons.

The Yushin Maru No.2 shortly after arriving in Port Louis, Mauritius late Dec 2019.
Route taken by the Yushin Maru No.2 after departing Japan on Dec 6th, 2019.