Vessel 'rammed'

 

Moronuki said the Japanese boat was disabled after being rammed from both sides by the protesters' vessels.

 

"For all this talk about extremism down here, what is extreme is the killing of endangered species in a whale sanctuary"

Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd founder and Farley Mowat captain
"They are terrorists and their activities are piracy," Moronuki told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.

 

The protesters blamed the whalers for the collision, which punched a hole in the Robert Hunter's hull. The damage was not bad enough to force it to head back to port.

 

"For all this talk about extremism down here, what is extreme is the killing of endangered species in a whale sanctuary," said Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd founder and captain of the Farley Mowat .

 

He said the Robert Hunter had been deliberately side-swiped by the Kaiko Maru, leaving gashes in the hull in two places and damaging the protest ship beneath the water line.

 

Further protests

 

Watson said the protest group planned to ram a vessel into the back of the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru on Tuesday to stop whales being hauled on board for processing, he said.

 

"We're not going to sink their ship, we're just going to obstruct their activities. We'll probably have the Farley Mowat permanently stuck up their rear end," he said.

 

Japan and like-minded nations hope the International Whaling Commission meeting will build momentum to resume commercial hunting of whales, with a focus on whale management rather than a moratorium.

 

However, more than two dozen anti-whaling nations, including Australia, New Zealand and the US, are boycotting the meeting.