At about noon today, Australia time, at a location about 180 miles off Cape Darnley in Australian Antarctic Territory the Sea Shepherd vessel Bob Barker collided with the Japanese whaling vessel Yushin Maru 3. No injuries have been reported.
As it to be expected, both sides had rather different accounts of who was at fault in the situation:Japanese Fisheries Agency: "An Act of Sabotage"
According to statements by the Japanese Fisheries Agency reported by the New York Times the Bob Barker caused the collision by suddenly approaching and throwing bottles of butyric acid aboard the whaler.
Calling it at "act of sabotage", the Fisheries Agency said, "We will not tolerate the dangerous activity that threatens Japanese whaling ships and endangers the lives of their crew members."
Sea Shepherd: "Intentionally Rammed"
In addition to releasing the video above, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society issued the following description of events:
The Bob Barker had been actively blocking the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, the Japanese whaling fleet's factory ship when the collision occurred. 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. At which point, the Yushin Maru 3 intentionally rammed the Bob Barker, creating a 3-foot long 4-inch deep gash in the mid starboard side of the Sea Shepherd vessel above the waterline.
Sea Shepherd went on to say that the Bob Barker has continued on, blocking the slipway of the Nisshin Maru so that transfer of slaughtered whales is prevented and "effectively shutting down illegal whaling operations."
This latest collision comes a month to the day after a collision between the Sea Shepherd's Ady Gil collided with a Japanese whaler and was sunk.
Japan Skirts International Law in Name of Scientific Research
Though commercial whaling is banned under international law, Japan maintains that its activities are legal under exceptions made for scientific research. This explanation is widely dismissed as being a cover for continued commercial whaling.
Japan Kills Sea Shepherd Anti-Whaling Ship. For Scientific Research?
Minke Whale Genetics Study Shows Faulty Logic in Japan's Pro-Whaling Argument
Australia Tells Japan to End Whaling of Face Legal Action. Rest of World Rolls Eyes.