New Whaling Mother ship Sets Out On First Expedition; Kangei Maru to Catch Whales Off Tohoku, Hokkaido

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Kangei Maru whaling mother ship sets out for its first expedition from Shimonoseki Port in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on Tuesday.

SHIMONOSEKI, Yamaguchi — A new whaling mother ship owned by a Tokyo-based company departed for its first expedition from Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on Tuesday.

The new ship, the Kangei Maru, is owned by Kyodo Senpaku Co., the world’s only mothership whaling operator. It sailed from its base at Shimonoseki Port on the western tip of Honshu.

The ship is scheduled to enter Tokyo Port on Thursday and then head to seas off the Tohoku region and Hokkaido to catch whales on Saturday.

The Kangei Maru has a displacement of 9,299 tons. It is 113 meters long in total and 21 meters wide.

Its cruising distance is 13,000 kilometers, sufficient to reach the Antarctic Sea.

The ship is capable of landing a large fin whale. The Fisheries Agency is considering adding the whale species to a list of those subject to Japanese whaling.

Construction of the ship was completed in March.

A departure ceremony for the ship, organized by the Shimonoseki city government, was attended by about 100 people, including crew members and administrative officials.

Hideki Tokoro, 69, president of Kyodo Senpaku, told reporters: “It has a significant meaning that the Kangei Maru can go out to catch whales, replacing the [predecessor mother ship] Nisshin Maru in less than a year. My heart is filled with deep emotion.”