After the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) released a video over the weekend countering the claims of Japan’s Institute of Cetecean Research (ICR) that it was the conservationist group that was to be faulted for the altercation that happened on February 25, the ICR has released today its own video and statement to support its earlier claim. In the statement, the ICR described the actions of the SSCS as “malicious and unacceptable.”
The whaling ship was said to have abandoned the refueling operations after it had been allegedly struck five times by the smaller boats of the SSCS called the Steve Irwin, Bob Barker and Sam Simon while they were obstructing the refueling operations. The ICR, through the statement, said, “The sabotage is not only malicious but inconceivably obstructive actions. Thus it threatens safety of our research ships and lives of crews on them and is therefore completely unacceptable.” SSCS Director, Doctor Bob Brown denies any such accusations. “It is the factory ship that is closing in the tanker,” he said. “To get close to it, to get refueled, and that’s what Sea Shepherd is preventing.”
Yesterday, the SSCS said that the 12,000-tonne vessel, the Shirase, from the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force arrived to help the whalers refuel. According to Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke, Japan has denied that there is a connection between the icebreaker and the whaling fleet. Brown said, however, that the icebreaker’s three helicopters were helping a Korean fuel tanker come close to the Nisshin Maru. He added that he feared violence could erupt between the activists and the whalers.
UPDATE: February 26th, 4:56 PM Video embedded with additional footage and comments from Paul Watson about the latest collisions.
[via ABC News]