2 Feb 2010

Research ship late leaving for whale expedition

3:35 pm on 2 February 2010

A voyage to research whales in Antarctic waters has been delayed by last-minute safety arrangements.

The MV Tangaroa was scheduled to leave at 6pm on Monday for a six-week trip to the Southern Ocean to collect new information about whales for a joint New Zealand-Australian mission.

Findings will be presented to the International Whaling Commission in an attempt to undermine a Japanese scientific programme in which up to 900 whales a year are killed.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research says it took longer than expected to weld a large amount of scientific and other equipment needed to operate safely in pack-ice to the deck.

The work has been completed and the Tangaroa is expected to depart about 2pm on Tuesday.