After a collision in the Southern Ocean between Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ships and a Japanese whaling vessel, the conservation group has made public new footage of the Nisshin Maru pushing the Bob Barker into a South Korean fuel tanker.
Sea Shepherd Australia released the video in response to claims by the Japanese government’s Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) that it was the anti-whaling group who was at fault in the incident that left three SSCS ships damaged in the Southern Ocean. According to SSCS, the whaling fleet’s enormous factory ship the Nisshin Maru, rammed four ships in one hour, damaging the Sam Simon, the Steve Irwin, the Bob Barker plus their own South Korean fuel tanker, the Sun Laurel. The 8,000-ton factory vessel then left the scene according to the SSCS.
Shortly after the incident, the ICR and the government of Japan announced that it had temporarily suspended the hunt due to the inability to refuel. Another statement from them quickly followed, this time exonerating themselves of the incident and putting the blame firmly back on the anti-whaling group. But Sea Shepherd Australia said the newly released video is “clear footage of who rammed who”. The organizations’ director, Jeff Hansen, added that “To see this massive bully factory whaling ship, that dwarfs the Bob Barker vessel, come crashing down on the bridge section is a clear indication that these whale poachers have absolutely no respect for not only cetaceans, but also human life.”
Sea Shepherd had hoped that because of this incident, the whaling fleet would suspend their whaling operations, but an official with Japan’s Fisheries Agency told Agence France-Presse, that the incident with Sea Shepherd vessels had not permanently suspended the hunt for this season. In fact, Japan has sent another vessel, a giant military icebreaker, to apparently bolster its whaling fleet in the wake of the conflict. The 12,500-ton Shirase, operated by the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force, has appeared 50 nautical miles of where the whalers currently are.[ via Digital Journal ]