Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd says one of its ships has
been rammed by a Japanese whaling vessel.
The Bob Barker was hit by the harpoon vessel, the Yushin Maru
2, when it crossed in front of its bow in sub-Antarctic
waters just before 9am (NZT), the group said.
The incident was a part of an attack by the Japanese whaling
fleets' three harpoon vessels, on the Sea Shepherd ships, The
Steve Irwin and The Bob Barker, which began about about 2am,
Sea Shepherd said.
"The assault is an attempt to deter the Sea Shepherd ships
from their current position, blocking the slipway of the
Nisshin Maru, preventing the whalers from loading whales
poached from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary."
During the clashes, which were continuing into afternoon, the
whaling vessels had also made consecutive attempts to tangle
the propellers of the Sea Shepherd ships by dragging steel
cable across the bow of the conservation ships, a Sea
Shepherd spokesman said.
The crew of the whaling vessels had also thrown projectiles
at The Steve Irwin's small boat crew and turned water cannons
on The Bob Barker's small boat crew as they attempted to cut
the steel cables, he said.
The alleged attack has happened while the group was
celebrating a "disastrous" Japanese whaling operation last
month as a direct result of actions taken by the Sea Shepherd
"Early interception and a persistent chase has enabled the
Sea Shepherd fleet to effectively suspend whaling operations
and allowed the fleet to take up position and secure the
slipway of the Nisshin Maru," the group said.
- Rebecca Quilliam of APNZ