TOKYO, Japan -- Japanese research whalers in the Antarctic have accused the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society of ramming the Yushin Maru No. 3. The Japanese researchers said the activists approached the Yushin Maru No. 3 to throw bottles containing butyric acid in an attempted attack on the Japanese ship which led to the collision.
The text of Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research press release follows:
The Togo-registered ship Bob Barker collided today around 1310JST with the Japanese Antarctic research vessel Yushin Maru No. 3. The Bob Barker had suddenly approached the Yushin Maru No. 3 to launch butyric acid-containing bottle projectiles. When the Yushin Maru No. 3 tried to avoid this, the Bob Baker collided against its stern.
On the early morning of February 6 the Bob Barker appeared in the vicinity of the whale research mother ship Nisshin Maru approaching dangerously from the stern up to a few dozen meters. The Bob Barker had been repeatedly firing a high-power green laser device against the Nisshin Maru crew until well past 1200JST.
Thereafter the Yushin Maru No. 3 and other research vessels maneuvered to contain the Bob Barker and thus secure a safe distance between the Nisshin Maru and the antiwhaling ship. However, the Bob Barker suddenly approached from the Yushin Maru No. 3 port side launching a number of butyric acid-containing bottles and other projectiles. To avoid a collision the Yushin Maru No. 3 put hard to starboard but the Bob Barker starboard came into contact with the port stern of the research vessel. The Yushin Maru suffered minor damage to its hand rail and hull. The Bob Barker damage extent is unknown.
After ramming the Yushin Maru No. 3, the Bob Barker activists made use of a large slingshot device to shoot a number of butyric acid-containing bottles against the Shonan Maru No. 2. While most of the projectiles landed in the sea, about 10 butyric-acid bottles hit the Shonan Maru No. 2’s deck. There were no injuries to the crews of the Japanese whale research vessels.
Photographs and video of the incidents in the Antarctic can be seen at: http://www.icrwhale.org/gpandsea.htm
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