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Sea Shepherd ships collide with Japanese whaling ship

21/02/2013 21:07:19

The Nisshin Maru apparently ramming the Bob Barker and the Sun Laurel photo: Sea Shepherd Australia/Glenn Lockitch

Several collisions as Sea Shepherd ships stop whaling ship refuelling

February 2013. The ships of the Sea Shepherd Society, currently in the southern ocean doing their best to disrupt and halt the Japanese whalers, have clashed with the Japanese whaling factory ship, the Nisshin Maru.

The Sea Shepherd Society's ships, the SSS Bob Barker and SSS Steve Irwin have, according to The sea Shepherd society, been rammed by the Japanese whaling fleet's massive factory vessel, the Nisshin Maru.

The following is a statement from Sea Shepherd:
On loudspeaker, the (Japanese whaling vessel) Shonan Maru No. 2 ordered Sea Shepherd's Australian flagged ship, the SSS Sam Simon, which was in the Australian Antarctic Territory, to leave the area on the orders of the Government of Japan. Concussion grenades were thrown at the Bob Barker and the Steve Irwin by the crew of the Nissin Maru.

Captain Peter Hammarstedt radioed the whaling fleet's factory vessel, the Nisshin Maru, and told them that the Bob Barker intended to maintain course and speed, that the moral and legal obligation to avoid the collision was on the Nisshin Maru.

The Nisshin Maru, turned and was approaching from starboard. It nearly collided with Bob Barker, before it turned into Steve Irwin, and rammed the Sea Shepherd ship's stern. The Nisshin Maru continued on its collision course, and rammed the portside of the Steve Irwin.
The Nisshin Maru then rammed the Bob Barker. The Steve Irwin increased its speed ahead to avoid the Nisshin Maru.

The Bob Barker took the Steve Irwin's position on the portside of the Sun Laurel.

The Steve Irwin circled back, and the Nisshin Maru pushed the Bob Barker into the Sun Laurel, sandwiching the Bob Barker between itself and the Sun Laurel. The Nisshin Maru then fell back behind the Bob Barker, and rammed full speed into the portside stern of the Sun Laurel, shattering their portside life-raft, and destroying the davit to launch the other life-raft. The Nisshin Maru then rammed the Bob Barker again from behind, destroying one of their radars, and all of their masts.

The Bob Barker completely lost power and issued a MayDay distress call. As this distress call was issued, theNisshin Maru turned away and began fleeing north.

Sea Shepherd Australia Co-Campaign leader, former Senator Bob Brown, has informed the Australian Government of the Japanese multiple breaches of international law and called for Tokyo to be required to remove its ships from this region north of Australia's Casey Base and to desist from its gross violation of Australian and international laws. He says that the Australian Navy should be dispatched to restore the law.

Currently the Sun Laurel is being escorted north by the Sea Shepherd fleet, since they have no emergency life-saving devices in the potentially treacherous waters of the Southern Ocean. Director of Sea Shepherd Australia, Jeff Hansen said, "The Nisshin Maru has committed the maritime equivalent of a hit and run accident. They have rammed the Sun Laurel, putting them in perilous danger, and simply abandoned them."

All vessels are heading north with the illegal whale poachers from Japan two miles ahead of Sea Shepherds' fleet.

All three Sea Shepherd ships were rammed, with the Bob Barker sustaining the heaviest damage. Power has been restored to the Bob Barker. Fortunately no crew member sustained injuries. The crews completed the mission to block the refuelling and will continue to protect the whales in the sanctuary.

'Institute of Cetacean Research'
Unsurprisingly, the so called ‘Institute of Cetacean Research', the cover name that is used by the Japanese whalers, have blamed Sea Shepherd for the collisions.

Some media reports have claimed that the Japanese whalers have abandoned their hunt for this season, though the Japanese fishing authorities deny this.


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