Japanese whaler attacked by environmentalists in Antarctica
06.02.2009 A boat belonging to Sea Shepherd, an environmental organization, collided with a Japanese whaler in Antarctica, Reuters reported.
The collision occurred when the Steve Irwin tried to stop the Japanese whaler Yosin-Maru 2 from taking a dead whale to the Tushu base. The environmentalists were attempting to block passage to the Yusi-Maru 1. To avoid a collision, the captain of the Steve Irwin, Paul Watson, shifted into reserve and slammed into the Yusi-Maru 2.
The upper end of the stern of the Japanese whaler was damaged in the incident. No-one was injured.
Japanese authorities have called the incident an act of violence. According to a spokesman for the Japanese Ministry of Fisheries, a day before the incident Sea Shepherd activists lobbed bottles containing acid at the Whaler and threw ropes at the stern of the fishing boat in an effort to damage the propeller.
Confrontations between environmentalists from Sea Shepherd and Japanese whalers occur quite often in Antarctica. Sea Shepherd activists, contrary to their counterparts from Greenpeace, are known to allow themselves the use of violent actions. The organization sometimes uses chemical bombs.
Japan joined the international moratorium on whale hunting in 1986. But a loophole in the agreement allowing whale hunting for research purposes allows whalers to bypass the moratorium. Most of the whale meat then ends up in Japanese restaurants and supermarkets. Japan catches an estimated 900 whales a year.
Picture: Japanese whaler Yusin-Maru 2 (left) and Steve Irwin (right)