The Canada-born actress and animal rights activist has written a letter to the Russian president on behalf of anti-whaling campaigners Sea Shepherd, calling on him to prevent the Icelandic cargo vessel ‘Winter Bay' from leaving Tromsø to take the Northeast passage through Russian waters.
The ship is carrying more than 1,700 tons of whale meat from Iceland to Japan. The meat comes from fin whales, an endangered species with only about 100,000 individuals remaining worldwide.
The International Whaling Commission has issued a moratorium on hunting the endangered Fin Whale, although Iceland and Japan have resumed hunting.
In her letter to the Russian president, Anderson appealed to their common interest in animal rights.
”I believe that we both share a mutual love for animals and a deep respect for nature and for this reason I would like to make a personal request to you, on behalf of endangered fin whales," she wrote.
Putin has launched a project to protect the Siberian Tiger, reversing a long-term decline in the number of the animals in Russia.
Although whaling is illegal in Russia, Russian icebreakers have in the past assisted vessels carrying whale meat from Iceland to Japan.
"At this moment there is a ship in Tromsø, Norway, called the Winter Bay," Anderson wrote. "President Putin, you can stop this illegal transit by forbidding this vessel from carrying a cargo of endangered fin whale meat through Russian waters to Japan?”
If Putin listens to Anderson's request, it is likely that the ship will not reach Japan, as Winter Bay has not been able to transit the Suez Canal, the Panama Canal or go via Europe or Africa for fear of being stopped by the authorities.