The Japanese government has announced that they are considering “major repairs” of the Nisshin Maru, the mother factory ship of the whaling fleet that works in Antarctica in the name of science. The work will be superficial because the Nisshin Maru should be ready in time for the departure to Antarctica which happens every year in November. The Japanese Fisheries Agency hopes that this fast cosmetic repair will resist 10 years.
However, the Nisshin Maru is old. She is fragile. She was launched in 1987.
The Nisshin Maru ex Chikuzen Maru was initially a stern trawler in American waters before being quickly converted into a whaling factory ship. She represents a risk for the crew and the Antarctic environment. The Nisshin Maru has a single hull, is not ice-reinforced and has a single motorization. She carries up to 2,600 tons of fuel. Furthermore, in February 2007, there was an explosion in the engine compartment.
The Nisshin Maru does not comply with international conventions on the prevention of marine pollution. Since August 2011, it is prohibited to carry or use heavy fuel oil in Antarctic waters.
Is the speedy repair going to replace the conventional engine by nuclear propulsion?
The Nisshin Maru should be demolished with other sub-standard ships of the Japanese whaling fleet.