On Monday, well-known anti-whaling and environmental conservation group Sea Shepherd claimed that Japanese whalers attacked its vessel and threatened the lives of its crew members currently campaigning in the Southern Ocean.
According to Sea Shepherd, two Japanese harpoon ships attempted to jam the propeller and rudder of the “Bob Barker” vessel by towing steel cables across its bow. When two small boats were launched with the intention of cutting the cables and protecting the Bob Barker, whalers on the “Yushin Maru” and “Yushin Maru 3″ allegedly threw bamboo spears at the small boat crews. Thankfully, no one was injured in the incident.
While these kinds altercations between Sea Shepherd and Japanese whalers are nothing new, Bob Barker captain Peter Hammarstedt had hoped that the Australian government would stand behind its earlier promise to monitor whaling operations in the Southern Ocean. Australian environment minister Greg Hunt had promised to dispatch a government ship that would tail the warring groups during the whaling season and step in should the situation turn violent. However, when Captain Hammarstedt wrote to Hunt last week complaining of the lack of assistance during previous Japanese whaler attacks, Hunt did not reply.
Said Hammarstedt, “They knew this attack was imminent, and yet they did nothing. Hunt’s broken promises to monitor the whaling operations are evident in the broken bodies of the whales killed today.”
Japanese whalers claim to be murdering whales for “scientific research” despite a ban on commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary, which has been in effect since 1994.
via The Guardian