Yes, it’s that time of the year again when Japanese whalers and eco-conservationist group Sea Shepherd engage in their “They said, they said” war. Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research has fired back at Sea Shepherd after the latter claimed that whaling ships attacked them in the Southern Ocean.
According to the ICR, the two Japanese ships were just defending themselves against the “unprovoked attacks” by the Sea Shepherd. They released a statement saying that the Bob Barker sabotaged their whaling fleet, although details as to how this came about was not included in the official statement. The ICR said that when their warnings to Sea Shepherd continued to be ignored, they started trailing “warning buoy wires” when the Bob Barker became “dangerously close” to their whaling fleet.
Sea Shepherd admits to launching two small inflatable boats to attempt to cut the wires from the whaling ships, but then went on to say that the Japanese ships were trying to damage their boat by trailing steel cables. The ICR did not comment on the claim that during this confrontation, one of the crew members of the whalers threw a bamboo spear at one of the boats. They however called on both the Australian and New Zealand governments to stop the conservationists’ activities against them, as the research they’re conducting is a “perfectly legal” practice under the International Whaling Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW). The statement called on affected countries to “take every measure available to restrain them and deal with their criminal actions in a strict and objective manner.” They also called Sea Shepherd’s actions “unacceptable” as they threaten the safety and lives of the crew and researchers on board.
[ via TVNZ ]