A second collision between the Sea Shepherd and the Japanese whaling fleet has occurred.
According to the latest news from the Sea Shepherd (which has been sparse the past few weeks), the MV Bob Barker was deliberately rammed at 12.09pm today by the Yushin Maru 3. No one was injured, but a small hole was torn above the water line in the ship’s hull.
The SS said the Bob Barker had been actively blocking the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, the Japanese whaling fleet’s factory ship. Four harpoon ships, the Yushin Maru 1, 2 and 3 and Shonan Maru 2 were circling and making near passes to the stern and bow of the Sea Shepherd vessel.
“The Bob Barker did not move from its position,” said the release.
“At which point the Yushin Maru 3 internationally rammed the Bob Barker creating a three-foot long and four-inch deep gash in the mid-starboard side of the Sea Shepherd vessel above the waterline. The Bob Barker continues to block the slipway of the Nisshin Maru preventing the transfer of slaughtered whales and effectively shutting “illegal whaling operations”.
“The incident demonstrates a continued escalation of violence by the illegal whalers in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary.”
Last month, a Japanese whaling ship collided with the Sea Shepherd’s Ady Gil, slicing a huge section off the front and dooming the high-tech vessel. Captain Paul Watson, who is currently aboard the MV Steve Irwin, said because of that action, the Japanese now feel they can do whatever they want. “What we really need is for the governments of Australia and New Zealand to step up and start enforcing maritime laws in these waters, or who knows what the whalers will do next.
“Australian and New Zealand lives are at risk every day in these waters.”
Watson’s claim that the Bob Barker was deliberately hit could not be independently verified.
[UPDATE: There’s now video of the incident]
According to MSNBC, Japanese Fisheries Agency official Takashi Mori said officials were trying to confirm details of a reported clash.