Japanese whaling fleet on the rampage

THE AMAZON PINK DOLPHIN’S VOICE

Japanese whaling ship rams Sea Shepherd fleet in Antarctic incident

The Sea Shepherd activist group have alleged their ship the Bob Barker has been seriously damaged in a conflict with Japanese whalers attempting to refuel in the Southern Ocean near an Australian station in Antarctica.

Bob Barker and Nisshin Maru
Source: Sea Shepherd Facebook. Sea Shepherd claims the Nisshin Maru blasted the Bob Barker with water cannons, and rammed them into the Sun Laurel.

A SHIP operated by the Sea Shepherd activist group is alleged to have been seriously damaged in a conflict with Japanese whalers attempting to refuel in the Southern Ocean near an Australian station in Antarctica.

The Japanese ship Shonan Maru 2 ordered Australian-flagged vessel theSam Simon to vacate the Australian Antarctic Territory on the orders of the Japanese government. Sea Shepherd activists say concussion grenades were thrown on board the Sam Simon from the Shonan Maru 2 before whaling ship the Nisshin Maru proceeded to ram all three Sea Shepherd vessels involved in the blockade.

The anti-whaling group’s ship Bob Barker state they were forced to issue a mayday distress call after being rammed repeatedly by the Nisshin Maruand losing all power. Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson claims that theBob Barker had been trying to prevent tanker ship the Sun Laurel from refuelling the whaling vessel when it was first sandwiched in between two ships, and later rammed from behind.

Watson said: “We have told the Australian government about this multiple times, but nobody is saying anything. I think the Japanese just think they can do what they want now. The Nisshin Maru is completely out of control.”

The group allege the Nisshin Maru also damaged the Sun Laurel in its attempt to break the Sea Shepherd blockade, shattering the ships life rafts and effectively destroying all of the Sun Laurel’s life-saving equipment. The tanker is currently being escorted north by the Sea Shepherd fleet in order to avoid the danger posed by having no life-rafts in the volatile conditions of the Southern Ocean.

Director of Sea Shepherd’s Australian chapter Jeff Hansen released a statement today claiming that the Sun Laurel had already defied international law by spilling oil in Australian Antarctic Territorial waters, and that the Sea Shepherd organisation intended to blockage its attempts to refuel the Nisshin Maru in order to prevent an ecological disaster in the region.

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.”

Bob Barker and Nisshin Maru
Source: Sea Shepherd Facebook. The Bob Barker and  Nisshin Maru

Sea Shepherd, now led by former Australian Greens leader Bob Brown, claimed that the Sun Laurel has never been in the Antarctic ice fields before and was rapidly approaching the main ice shelf in the region. They say that the ship’s inexperience in the ice combined with the vessel’s history of oil spillage was a recipe for environmental disaster.

Brown has called for the Australian Navy to be deployed to the Australian Antarctic Territory to restore maritime law in the region, and says that Japan should be required to remove all ships from Australian waters as a result of the incident. He says that he has personally informed the Australian government about what he described as a gross violation of both Australian and international law.

Captain of the Steve Irwin Siddharth Chakravarty said: “The situation has gone too far. The recklessness of the Japanese Whaling Fleet and the Sun Laurel have put Antarctica’s rich environment at grave risk for an ecological nightmare. The time has come for the Australian government to intervene and put a stop to this insanity.”

Sea Shepherd has drawn criticism from the Japanese government in recent years after a persistent campaign to stamp out the country’s practice of commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean. The Japanese government were successful in having Interpol issue a ‘red notice’ for the organisations founder Paul Watson which required police in all signatory nations to apprehend the activist if he entered their territory.

Japanese consul-general in Melbourne Hidenobu Sobashima said that the Japanese government stood by its position and that “all obstructive activities of Sea Shepherd that endanger life of the crew and property, and safe navigation at sea, should be stopped.”

No Sea Shepherd crew members incurred injuries during the altercation, and power has been restored to the Bob Barker. The fleet is currently bearing north, with the Nisshin Maru and other Japanese vessels involved in the altercation currently two miles ahead of the Sea Shepherd vessels and the Sun Laurel. 

Source: Australian times

Sea Shepherd claims ships rammed

Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd claims two of its boats were deliberately rammed by a Japanese whaling ship in the Southern Ocean.

Sea Shepherd had been trying to halt whaling in Antarctica, and this week had been blocking the whalers’ access to a Korean fuel tanker, Sun Laurel.

Paul Watson from Sea Shepherd said it had been a successful strategy for around 48 hours, but then the factory ship Nisshin Maru came in.

“They hit the Steve Irwin twice in the stern and then moved in on the Bob Barker, hitting it multiple times and slamming it into the side of the tanker.”

“Then they lost control and slammed into the back side of their own tanker, causing some structural damage and destroying their lifeboat.”

Watson said the fuel tanker hit by Nisshin Maru sent Sea Shepherd a message in a bottle to say it did not support how the Japanese were dealing with the situation.

He said Nisshin Maru staff were throwing stun grenades, and hitting Sea Shepherd members with high-powered water cannons.

Bob Barker skipper Peter Hammarstedt said there was a moment when the Nisshin Maru came in, and he could not get out of the way.

“I looked out my bridge window to starboard and all I could see was Nisshin Maru’s anchor, a vessel five times my size.

“As they started pushing us, my biggest fear was that they would push us over – and we have 35 souls on board.”

Hammarstedt said the Japanese ship hit them several times before pulling away.

“They realised they could either back off or kill everybody aboard ship.”

Hammarstedt said a mayday distress call was made as he believed his boat was going to roll over.

“We sustained structural damage to the ship, but we are afloat, we do have propulsion and we have withdrawn our mayday.”

The structural damage is above the waterline.

“I have lost a lot of communications equipment to the anchor of the Nisshin Maru.”

No one was hurt on the Bob Barker.

The whaling fleet has moved north with the Sea Shepherd fleet in pursuit.

Captain Siddharth Chakravarty, aboard the Steve Irwin, has said the situation had gone too far.

“The recklessness of the Japanese whaling fleet and the Sun Laurel have put Antarctica’s rich environment at grave risk for an ecological nightmare,” he said.

“The time has come for the Australian government to intervene and put a stop to this insanity.”

In an earlier statement Sea Shepherd said it had observed the Sun Laurel leaking oil into Australian Antarctic Territorial waters. It said this was a breach of Australian and international law.

Source: Stuff

 

Ships collide in Antarctic whaling protest

Dramatic images have been sent from the Antarctic of the Japanese whaling factory ship Nisshin Maru colliding with other ships – including its own fuel-laden tanker.

The 8030-tonne Nisshin Maru can be seen amid pack ice grazing the stern of the 5741-tonne Sun Laurel near Australia’s Davis station, in images sent by the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd.

As a result, the framework for launching the tanker’s lifeboat has been damaged, preventing its release in an emergency.

The collision on Wednesday came as the Nisshin Maru attempted to reach the Sun Laurel for refuelling,  also hitting the anti-whaling group’s long range ship Bob Barker in the stern and disabling it.

During the skirmishing, Sea Shepherd’s flagship Steve Irwin was also hit multiple times by the Nisshin Maru, according to the group’s founder Paul Watson.

Images show the Nisshin Maru amid drifting ice riding up on the stern of the Steve Irwin.

The group has for the past two days blocked attempts by the Nisshin Maru to refuel from the Sun Laurel.

Comment has been sought from the Japanese Government on the clash.

Meanwhile the consul-general in Melbourne, Hidenobu Sobashima, said his government’s basic position remained the same.

“All obstructive activities of Sea Shepherd that endanger life of the crew and property, and safe navigation at sea, should be stopped,” Mr Sobashima said.

Whaling conflict escalates

The Antarctic whaling conflict has worsened sharply, with collisions and some damage reported as activists and whalers dispute the refuelling of the whaling fleet.

After several days of close manoeuvres between the two sides north of Australia’s Davis station, Sea Shepherd activists said on Wednesday the factory ship Nisshin Maru had rammed two of their ships.

“The Steve Irwin has been rammed twice by the Nisshin Maru,” said the group’s founder, Paul Watson.

“The Bob Barker has also been rammed and is taking on water in the engine room. The crew have the situation under control.”

Comment was being sought from the Japanese Government, which defends its whaling as a legal activity, and says it is complying with all international regulations governing refuelling in the Antarctic.

The activists have been blockading the whaling fleet’s tanker, Sun Laurel, from refuelling the Nishin Maru.

On Tuesday night, Sea Shepherd said small boat crews had cut loose a fender lowered to buffer the Sun Laurel with the Nisshin Maru.

At last report the Bob Barker was said to beholding position between the whalers’ ships in heavy ice conditions.

As the drama was unfolding Sea Shepherd’s Australian director Jeff Hansen had said they had been blocking attempts by Nisshin Maru to refuel on Sun Laurel.

They claim the tanker, which flies a Panama flag, has never been in the ice before and is now near the main ice shelf.

He said Sea Shepherd’s ships Steve Irwin and Sam Simon were beside the tanker while Bob Barker was blocking the stern slip way of the Nisshin Maru.

“All three harpoon ships are currently circling the group, blasting the ships with water cannons, trying to bully a path through the ice for the Nisshin Maru.”

Captain Siddharth Chakravarty aboard the Steve Irwin has said the situation had gone too far.

“The recklessness of the Japanese whaling fleet and the Sun Laurel have put Antarctica’s rich environment at grave risk for an ecological nightmare,” he said.

“The time has come for the Australian government to intervene and and put a stop to this insanity.”

Source: The Sydney Morning  Herald

 

Editorial: SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras

Selvavidasinfronteras.wordpress.com

Editorial Committee

David Dunham

Arno Ambrosius

Gustavo López Ospina

Mariana Almeida

Pieter Jan Brouwer

Assistant: Emilia Romero

The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice is associated with the International Environmental Mission, a grass roots citizens movement created by Chilean Senator Juan Pablo Letelier.

SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice” were taken by Mr. Schafer. 

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~ by FSVSF Admin on 20 February, 2013.

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