SYDNEY: Environmental activist group Sea Shepherd claimed on Monday that Japanese whalers attacked its vessels in the Southern Ocean while slamming the Australian government for “broken promises” to monitor whaling operations.
Sea Shepherd said Japanese harpoon ships, the Yushin Maru and Yushin Maru 3, towed steel cables across the bow of its vessel the Bob Barker 11 times on Sunday in a bid to jam its propeller and rudder.
When the Bob Barker launched two small boats to defend the ship and cut the steel cables, it alleged that a bamboo spear was thrown at crew members.
High-seas confrontations are common between Sea Shepherd and the Japanese, who hunt whales off Antarctica under a “scientific research” loophole in the moratorium on whaling.
A 2010 collision resulted in the sinking of Sea Shepherd’s speedboat Ady Gil.
Sunday’s incident was the third clash since the whaling season started earlier this year. No one was injured.
“Each time we have located the Nisshin Maru (factory ship), the Sea Shepherd fleet has been attacked by the whalers in night-time ambushes,” said Bob Barker’s captain Peter Hammarstedt.
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