Sea Shepherd, whalers slam hulls in Antarctic waters

AFP-JIJI

Japanese whalers and militant conservationists have again been in dangerous clashes off Antarctica, with both sides accusing the other of ramming their vessels.

Veteran antiwhaling campaigner Paul Watson said that on Monday the factory ship Nisshin Maru rammed the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s much smaller vessel, the Bob Barker.

But on its website, the Institute of Cetacean Research accused several Sea Shepherd boats of ramming the Nisshin Maru as it tried to refuel with her supply tanker, the Sun Laurel.

“It was five hours of intense confrontation,” Watson said from onboard the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin. “We took up our positions to block their approach to the (fuel tanker) Sun Laurel and they rammed the Bob Barker twice, causing considerable damage, and then they pushed it into the side of the Sun Laurel.”

Watson said the Japanese threw stun grenades and used water cannon on his boat, and damaged another Sea Shepherd vessel, the Sam Simon, but there were no injuries to Sea Shepherd crew.

“It was extremely dangerous,” he said. “I can’t tell you how intimidating it is to have a 12,000-ton ship coming at you and trying to slam into the side of you.

“Their contention that we rammed them is just ludicrous. We would just bounce off them.”

The institute claimed the whalers were “again subject to sabotage by the Sea Shepherd ships Steve Irwin, Bob Barker and Sam Simon.”

“During their obstruction to refuelling operations the Sea Shepherd vessels rammed into . . . the Nisshin Maru and the supply tanker,” it said. “During the attack, the Nisshin Maru used her water pump as a preventive measure to make Sea Shepherd vessels refrain from further approaching and repeatedly broadcast a warning message to stop them.”

  • BNB

    Good job Sea Shepherd. You have effectively shut down this illegal, barbaric, and disgusting Japanese operation. Boats are expendable, whales are not.

    We have seen the latest videos that CLEARLY show the Nisshin Maru causing the collisions. They are reckless and the Japanese fleet knows very little boundaries in their quest for blood.

    The only peacekeeping operation down there are the Sea Shepherd heroes. Absolutely fantastic job this group of international volunteers is doing. Shame on Japan for their thuggery and destruction.

    • Robert Scott

      Good Job!? the Sea Shepard is the only one acting illegally and thuggishly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.yzaguirre.9 Kevin Yzaguirre

    If the poachers weren’t there illegally anyway this wouldn’t be a problem. The govt of Japan’s exploiting a loophole in an international ban on whaling. Seriously though what kind of research can you do with a harpoon? The whalers are saying the research is to find out the impact the whales are having on their, Japan’s, fishing industry. Why then are they hunting in Antarctica? Anyway you look at it the research claim is B.S!! The world needs to come together and condemn the slaughter of these whales

  • W.e. Ysmad

    That mentioned warning message from Nisshin Maru I think you can hear on other videos to be “Stop your destructive action”. How can there be someone on board a factory ship, which is hunting for whales in a whale sanctuary, for “Research”, destroying ecosystems, demanding to “stop destructive action”?

  • W.e. Ysmad

    That mentioned warning message from Nisshin Maru I think you can hear on other videos to be “Stop your destructive action”. Let me put that neutral: in my opinion there is a certain irony in the situation, that the side which is trying to avoid destruction of ecosystems by stopping a factory ship which is hunting for whales in a whale sanctuary, is being accused of “destructive action”. Dear editor, I would like to put this point to discussion here. Thank you.

  • alain

    The japanese government should call back its whaling fleet

  • chiro_care@hotmail.com

    The whalers are wrong and violating international law! This “research” excuse is a crock. Stop the killing of whales!

  • http://twitter.com/RSPW_DEP David Powell

    If you sail between two ships trying to refuel at sea.. sigh. This is very, very dangerous business. I hate whaling with a passion, but this is not something I see ending well for anyone. They need to back off before something really bad happens. I wish the US had a Coast Guard cutter or two in the area.

  • Nida

    Strange, though not exactly strange, how these days the “heroes ” are made to look like villains and the “villains” made to look like heroes. Knowing the nature of the Japanese and the way the SS works, I think I know who’s on the side of the ‘right’ and who’s on the other side.

    When one side states a fact, the other side distorts and hurls back the same accusation. Pretty much the same with what’s happening between China and Japan.

    Here’s one quote I found which may bring some food for thought:

    “Evil acts by using force. Its activity is not the natural way, but goes against nature. That is why it utilizes oppression, fear, intimidation and threats. “

  • Bellamy Moore

    How can a nation that pioneered the notion of dogs and cats having legal rights, a nation that reveres Akitas and has wonderful cat cafes, condone the killing of whales? I think it is sad.

  • Ben

    the conservationists would probably have better luck if they would just inform the japanese people of how millions of taxpayer yen are handed over to this group to hire ships and undertake voyages that result in nothing but thousands of tonnes of unsold whale meat piling up in a tokyo warehouse.
    when i talk to my japanese friends about it they have no problem with whaling, but are strongly opposed to government wastage. they assumed the whalers were funded by sales of whale meat and were outraged to learn otherwise.

  • Takahashi

    Look at the picture people. Why is the smaller, nimble Bob Barker in that position. It is putting human beings at risk of death, drowning and injury. Humans are infinitely more important than any animal. I ate some delicious whale bacon this morning and will enjoy some whale sashimi tonight….

    • http://www.facebook.com/charles.f.sommers Charles F. Sommers

      I ate whale meat fifty years ago when I lived in Japan for most of the decade of the 60s. It was a popular food then because people were not aware of the contaminants it contained and it was inexpensive.

      Today is a different story, the Japanese government is aware of the high level of PCBs and mercury contained in both whale and dolphin flesh. Enjoy your whale bacon and sashimi and keep your health insurance current.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eelco.eggen Eelco Eggen

      The Bob Barker is there because the people on it believe that they can save the world’s whale population. And that’s exactly what they’re doing. If nobody had cared about the whales, they probably would have gone extinct by now.

    • WithMalice

      Aaaah… so as long as it tastes good, anything is justifiable?
      You’re part of the problem Takahashi. Part of the reason the planet’s falling to pieces underneath our feet.

  • Stephen Kent

    I was absolutely disgusted when I heard that money had been taken from the funds for rebuilding the Tohoku area affected by the earthquake to pay for this loss making enterprise that is supposed to represent a “tradition”. If it wouldn’t cause a massive backlash I would quite happily donate money to Sea Shepherd to purchase torpedoes.

  • Karl Malloy

    Dr Ray Gambell, former head of International Whaling
    Commission, the commission whose treaty banned commercial whaling: I
    have to say at the outset that Japan is not doing anything illegal by catching
    the whales that it does and it is acting legally within the terms of the
    Convention that we operate. One of the things that we are working on at the
    present time is inspection and international observer programmes that will have
    oversight of any whaling which is under IWC control, to make sure that all
    regulations are followed covering areas such as size and species.

  • Karl Malloy

    United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, Chief Judge Kozinski writing the unanimous opinion: “You don’t need a peg leg or an eye patch. When you ram ships; hurl glass containers of acid; drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders; launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate, no matter how high-minded you believe your purpose to be…The preliminary injunction we issued on December 17, 2012, Inst. of Cetacean Research v. Sea Shepherd
    Conservation Soc’y, 702 F.3d 573 (9th Cir. 2012), will remain in effect until
    further order of this court.”

    From the injunction: “In no event shall defendants [SSCS] approach plaintiffs [Japan ICR] any closer than 500 yards when defendants are navigating on the open sea.”

  • Wild West

    Obvious propaganda to demonize opposition to the slaughter of whaling by the aggressive well armed wealthy and powerful Nippon whaling interests.