Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin docks in Dunedin after taking on whaling fleet video

HAMISH McNEILLY/Stuff.co.nz

Captain Wyanda Lublink, of Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin, speaks after the crew arrive in Dunedin.

Anti-whaling campaign group Sea Shepherd has docked in Dunedin after filming a dead minke whale on board a Japanese whaling vessel.

In January, the group released a photo of the first documented killing since the international court of justice ruled Japan's Antarctic whaling illegal in 2014.

The photo showed the dead minke whale on the deck of the Nissin Maru on Sunday, January 15.

Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin arrives in Dunedin.
HAMISH McNEILLY/FAIRFAX NZ

Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin arrives in Dunedin.

Wyanda Lublink, captain of Sea Shepherd boat Steve Irwin, said on that day they found Japanese the vessel while on patrol in the Southern Ocean, but "unfortunately they had already killed one of the minke whales".

"It was most definitely the most important thing for us."

The size of the Southern Ocean meant it was becoming increasingly hard for Sea Shepherd's two vessels to track the five Japanese whalers, she said.

A Sea Shepherd helicopter has tracked Japan's whaling fleet.
SEA SHEPHERD/SUPPLIED

A Sea Shepherd helicopter has tracked Japan's whaling fleet.

While it would be great to have more vessels, the organisation would rather have the support of the Australian Government.

"They have a purpose-built ship to do so, however they are not using that ship," Lublink said.

New Zealand also had territorial waters in the Southern Ocean and she called on the Government to "patrol their part".

Japan's giant abattoir ship Nisshin Maru with a minke whale on the deck.
SEA SHEPHERD/SUPPLIED

Japan's giant abattoir ship Nisshin Maru with a minke whale on the deck.

On arrival in Dunedin, the crew were given donated fresh fruit, with Lublink saying she was looking forward to having a beer.

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The ship will be open to the public for free tours on Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 5pm – the first time it has been open for tours in the South Island.

 - Stuff

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