Friday, February 5, 2010

Japanese Whaling Ships Rams The Bob Barker

First, the Ady Gil - now the Bob Barker. On January 6, 2010 while trying to save Japanese whaling ships from illegally capturing and killing whales, the Ady Gil, a trimaran, was deliberately rammed by the whaler Shonan Maru II. Fortunately, none of the crew was killed; but, one crew member suffered broken ribs. Not only was the ramming a deliberate act of attempted murder; after they smashed the much smaller vessel, there was no attempt to determine if anyone had gone overboard and required rescuing. This is a breach of Maritime law. The Maru II continued on its way still drenching the floundering vessel with their water cannons.

Here is the video of the Ady Gil being rammed by the Shonan Maru II.

Now, 1 month to the day, another ramming. Hummmm...coincidence - I think not. This time, it's the Bob Barker. The picture below shows some of the damage caused by the ramming.

Some of the damage sustained by the Bob Barker after the ramming. Photo courtesy: Sea Shepard Conservation Society

This most recent ramming was the result of the Sea Shepard vessel, Bob Barker, managing to get into and stay in position to block the slipway of the Nisshin Maru. The slipway is essential in the transfer of whale carcasses from the harpoon ships to the factory ship. The slipway is ramp by which the whales are hauled aboard the factory ship to be processed. With the slipway blocked, the illegal whaling operations are brought to a halt.

The Bob Barker and its entirely volunteer crew had caught up with the factory ship, the Nisshin Maru, in the Antarctic waters off Australia. The crew had planned to stay in this position off the stern until either the whalers returned home or the Bob Barker ran out of fuel. At this time, they were also awaiting backup from the Steve Irwin and crew who were racing to the area to join the protest.

The Nisshin Maru and the Bob Barker had been surrounded by four other whaling vessels – the Yushin Maru 1, 2, and 3; as well as, the infamous Shonan Maru 2 which was responsible for ramming the Ady Gil exactly one month ago to the day. This ramming was an act of blatant aggression while some believe that the captain of the Shonan Maru 2 should be charged with attempted murder.

Captain Chuck Swift was quoted as saying before the ramming of the Bob Barker, “As we sit in the shadow of this cetacean death machine, I’m proud to captain this ship and fine crew on such a noble mission. We will end these illegal operations once and for all, thanks to support from our staff and supporters the world over.”

Everything changed at 12:09 pm, Fremantle, Australia time, when the Yushin Maru 3 intentionally rammed the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker, penetrating its hull and endangering the lives of its crew. The collision occurred about 180 miles off Cape Darnley in the Australian Antarctic Territory.

The four harpoon ships, the Yushin Maru 1, 2, and 3 and Shonan Maru 2 had been circling the Bob Barker making near-miss passes from the stern to the bow of the vessel. This was obviously meant to be threatening; but, the Bob Barker stood its ground. When the Bob Barker refused to be intimidated, the harpoon ship, the Yushin Maru 3, intentionally rammed the Bob Barker leaving a 3’ long by 4” deep gash in the mid-starboard side of the vessel above the waterline.

No crew members were injured during the collision and the Bob Barker remains steadfast in holding its position in the slipway of the Nisshin Maru despite the damage to the vessel. This makes it pointless for the harpoon ships to continue whaling as they are unable to transfer the carcasses to the factory ship for processing.

This most recent incident proves the violence demonstrated by the crews of the whaling fleet vessels is escalating; and, they have absolutely no regard for the lives of the crew members of the vessels they ram. They have already demonstrated this by ramming the Ady Gil; and, then leaving the area without checking for survivors.

Captain Paul Watson says, “Because the whalers got away basically scot-free with the outrageous sinking of the Ady Gil, they now apparently think they can do whatever they want and they appear to have no qualms about endangering Sea Shepherd crew. 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 know what the whalers will do next. Australian and New Zealand lives are at risk every day in these waters."

This video shows the ramming of the Bob Barker.

Via Sea Shepard Conservation Society

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