Paul Watson, the founder the of environmental activist group Sea Shepherd, has released a statement claiming that they have been rammed twice by the factory ship from Japan’s whaling fleet, the Nisshin Maru, in the Southern Ocean waters. He adds that there have not been any injuries, and that everyone is ok, but the Steve Irwin vessel was hit in the stern, while the Bob Barker was also rammed and is taking on water in the engine compartment. Sea Shepherd also alleges that the Japan Coast Guard is throwing “concussion grenades” at the anti-whaling group.
Jeff Hansen, a co-leader of the group’s campaign against the Japanese whale hunt this year, also told Australia’s ABC News that they are under attack by the armed coastguard who are in Australian waters, and are concerned for the safety of their crew. In addition to the grenades, the security aboard the Nisshin Maru is said to be using water cannons and ordering the Sea Shepherd vessels to leave the area. Among Paul Watson’s statements, which he has posted on his Facebook page, are that their ships are maintaining their positions and refuse to move.
The Bob Barker has positioned itself between the Nisshin Maru and the whaling fleet’s re-supply ship, the Sun Laurel, when it was hit on the stern. Sea Shepherd has been actively trying to block the Japanese fleet’s access to the Sun Laurel, in order to prevent them from re-fueling. “We have told the Australian Government about this multiple times, but nobody is saying anything,” Watson has added.
There has been no comment from Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR), which runs the annual whale hunts, at this point. It’s also worth noting that there hasn’t been any confirmation of these collisions from Australian authorities, or any other party, yet.
[via NZ Herald]