Radical environmentalists say they have followed a trail of "remnants of butchered whales" to relocate the Japanese whaling fleet in New Zealand's Ross Sea today.
Sea Shepherd earlier this month located the whale factory ship Nisshin Maru on the western side of the Ross Sea but the whalers then fled.
In a statement they said they found Nisshin Maru and its whale chasers on the other side of the Ross Sea, 1600 kilometres north east of Scott Base.
Sea Shepherd said it was forcing the factory ship to suspend whaling.
A helicopter aboard the Sea Shepherd ship the Steve Irwin found the Nisshin Maru and two harpoon ships, Yushin Maru No. 1 and No. 2.
At their present course and speed, Sea Shepherd said it expected to drive the Japanese whale poaching fleet out of the easternmost boundary of its self-designated whaling grounds later today.
"After finding the discarded remnants of butchered whales from the Nisshin Maru strewn through the waters of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, we knew we were closing in fast on the whale poachers," Bob Barker's skipper Peter Hammarstedt says.
"We wasted no time in following the bloody trail of the remains of these once beautiful creatures to the Nisshin Maru, where we are now able to shut down their illegal whaling operations."