Japanese Whalers ram Greenpeace ship
Whalers ram Greenpeace ship
Southern Ocean Sunday, 08 January, 2006 : Greenpeace reports no whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary today, following a dangerous collision caused by a whaling ship.
At 7am this morning [11am AEST] the Greenpeace ship MY Arctic Sunrise was rammed by the Nisshin Maru, the factory ship of the Fisheries Agency of Japan whaling fleet.
Speaking from onboard the Arctic Sunrise, the Greenpeace expedition leader Shane Rattenbury said: "There is no way to describe this as anything but a deliberate ramming which placed the safety of our ship and the lives of its crew in severe danger."
Over night the Nisshin Maru had been offloading accumulated whale meat onto a supply vessel, the Oriental Bluebird. The Nishan Maru does not have the capacity to store the double quantity of whale meat they are aiming for in this expedition.
Early this morning Greenpeace activists onboard inflatables began to paint the words, "whale meat from sanctuary" on the side of the Oriental Bluebird. Their action in no way impeded the transfer of the meat and the tiny inflatables in no way represented a threat to either vessel.
The Arctic Sunrise was observing the
action from over one kilometre away on the opposite side of
the supply vessel from the Nisshin Maru.
As the activists completed painting the slogan, the Nisshin Mura suddenly disengaged from the supply vessel coming around a full 360 degrees before making for the Arctic Sunrise and striking it on the port side. The Greenpeace captain tried to pull out of the way of the oncoming whaler.
While the impact has left the Arctic Sunrise "battered and bruised" it has not disabled the ship, but the crew have had to secure the mast on the fore deck.
Straight after the ramming the Nisshin Maru began to steam away from the scene. Both the Arctic Sunrise and the Esperanza are in pursuit with every intention of continuing to peacefully protest the hunt.
Greenpeace has repeatedly informed the whaling fleet and its controlling organisation in Tokyo, the Institute for Cetacean Research, of its peaceful intentions and explained the purpose of the protest against the hunt.
"Over the past few days Greenpeace activists have repeatedly run the gauntlet between the whalers' harpoons and their prey in order to protect the whales and defend the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. No amount of bullying or intimidation will prevent us from defending the whales, nor from broadcasting images of the kills to the world," said Rattenbury.
Flying in the face of international protest and repeated calls from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to stop its annual 'scientific' whale hunt, this year the Fisheries Agency of Japan has more than doubled its planned catch of minke whales to 935 [850 + 10%] and added 10 endangered fin whales. Over the next 2 years 40 more fin whales will be added to the annual kill along with 50 humpback whales. Fin whales are the second largest creatures on earth, after blue whales.