Conservation group Sea Shepherd has unveiled the latest addition to its anti-whaling arsenal, a $12 million custom-designed ship.
The Ocean Warrior is docked in Hobart after sailing from Turkey, where it was built with money from Dutch lotteries.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has described the ship as a "game changer" in its fight against the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean.
Captain Adam Meyerson said it was faster and better equipped to keep up with the whaling fleet's much larger ships.
"It's our longest-range, fastest vessel we have now, and it's going to change the way we can protect the whales," he said.
"The big challenge is always finding [the hunting fleet] and then just the normal challenges of getting to and from Antarctica, the weather and the ice, and all the other things.
"It's a difficult voyage just to go there and back, but to go down there and find a needle in a haystack, shut down the whaling, and come back, is always a big challenge."
"We try and do it as safely as possible," he said.
"The whaling fleet has said this year they're not going to engage or get in confrontations with us, they're just going to move, and stop whaling when we show up, so hopefully they'll keep their word."
Sea Shepherd claims Japan has had a kill quota of 333 minke whales a year for the past 12 years.
It remains the only country conducting whaling operations in international waters.
In 2015, Australia's Federal Court fined Japanese whalers Kyodo $1 million for hunting whales within an Australian sanctuary.
The fine has not been paid and it cannot be enforced outside Australia.
Time Australia sent ship to Southern Ocean: Green
Tasmanian Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson moved a recent Senate motion condemning the whaling, and said it was time the Federal Government sent its own ship to patrol the southern ocean.
He said other nations were looking to Australia to show leadership on the issue.
'This is the year that the Australian Government had to uphold its election commitment, its promise to the Australian people,' he said.
'Sea Shepherd shouldn't be going alone this year. There needs to be a patrol vessel from the Australian Government, in the Southern Ocean.
"It hasn't been able to hold the Japanese Government to account."
A total of 15 people will crew the Ocean Warrior when it sets sail for a 12-week mission to Antarctica this weekend.
The Federal Government has not responded to calls to send a vessel to Antarctica, but in a statement, a spokesman said it had "strongly urged" Japan not to resume whaling in the Southern Ocean.
"Australia will continue to work through the International Whaling Commission to bring about a permanent end to all forms of commercial and so-called 'scientific' whaling," the statement read.
"The Australian Government is deeply disappointed that Japan's whaling fleet has left port to continue its so-called 'scientific' whaling program in the Southern Ocean this summer."