JAPANESE WHALE POACHING VESSEL, NISSHIN MARU,
RAMS S. KOREAN FUEL TANKER, SEA SHEPHERD SHIPS STEVE IRWIN, AND BOB BARKER
- JAPAN ORDERS AUSTRALIAN FLAGGED SHIP TO LEAVE
AUSTRALIAN WATERS THEN ATTACKS
Feb. 20, 2013 – MELBOURNE, Australia — The SSS Bob Barker and SSS Steve Irwin have been rammed by the Japanese whaling fleet’s massive factory vessel, the Nisshin Maru. The floating slaughter-house is eight times the mass of the Steve Irwin.
The Bob Barker and the Steve Irwin were behind Sun Laurel, Steve Irwin on portside, Bob Barker on starboard.
On load-speaker, the Shonan Maru No. 2 ordered Sea Shepherd’s Australian flagged ship, the SSS Sam Simon, which is located in the Australian Antarctic Territory, to leave the area on the orders of the Government of Japan. Concussion grenades were thrown at the Bob Barker and the Steve Irwin by the crew of the Nissin Maru.
Captain Peter Hammarstedt radioed the whaling fleet’s factory vessel, the Nisshin Maru, and told them that the Bob Barker intended to maintain course and speed, that the moral and legal obligation to avoid the collision was on the Nisshin Maru.
The Nisshin Maru, turned and was approaching from starboard. It nearly collided with Bob Barker, before it turned into Steve Irwin, and rammed the Sea Shepherd ship’s stern.
The Nisshin Maru continued on its collision course, and rammed the portside of the Steve Irwin.
The Nisshin Maru then rammed the Bob Barker. The Steve Irwin increased its speed ahead to avoid the Nisshin Maru.
The Bob Barker took the Steve Irwin’s position on the portside of the Sun Laurel.
The Steve Irwin circled back, and the Nisshin Maru pushed the Bob Barker into the Sun Laurel, sandwiching the Bob Barker between itself and the Sun Laurel. The Nisshin Maru then fell back behind the Bob Barker, and rammed full speed into the portside stern of the Sun Laurel, shattering their portside life-raft, and destroying the davit to launch the other life-raft. The Nisshin Maru then rammed the Bob Barker again from behind, destroying one of their radars, and all of their masts.
The Bob Barker completely lost power and issued a MayDay distress call. As this distress call was issued, the Nisshin Maru turned away and began fleeing north.
Sea Shepherd Australia Co-Campaign leader, former Senator Bob Brown, has informed the Australian Government of the Japanese multiple breaches of international law and called for Tokyo to be required to remove its ships from this region north of Australia’s Casey Base and to desist from its gross violation of Australian and international laws. He says that the Australian Navy should be dispatched to restore the law.
Currently the Sun Laurel is being escorted north by the Sea Shepherd fleet, since they have no emergency life-saving devices in the potentially treacherous waters of the Southern Ocean. Director of Sea Shepherd Australia, Jeff Hansen said, “The Nisshin Maru has committed the maritime equivalent of a hit and run accident. They have rammed the Sun Laurel, putting them in perilous danger, and simply abandoned them.”
All vessels are heading north with the illegal whale poachers from Japan two miles ahead of Sea Shepherds’ fleet.
All three Sea Shepherd ships were rammed, with the Bob Barker sustaining the heaviest damage. Power has been restored to the Bob Barker. Fortunately no crewmembers sustained injuries. The crews completed the mission to block the refuelling and will continue to protect the whales in the sanctuary.
About Sea Shepherd Australia
Sea Shepherd Australia is a non-profit conservation organisation whose mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd Australia uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately balanced oceanic ecosystems, Sea Shepherd Australia works to ensure their survival for future generations. Visit www.seashepherd.org.au for more information.