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Protest boats hit Japanese whaler
Protesters promise further "obstruction" after whaling boat is damaged in collision.
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2007 07:37 GMT
The Kaiko Maru, left, was damaged after colliding with the Farley Mowat, right, and another boat [AFP]

A Japanese whaling ship and protest vessels have collided in the southern ocean, with the protesters saying they will next ram a Japanese factory ship.

 

The Robert Hunter and the Farley Mowat, both Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ships, collided on Monday with Japanese whale spotter Kaiko Maru in the Ross Sea, south of

The Japanese vessel's propeller was damaged, forcing it to send a distress signal, said Hideki Moronuki, a Japanese fisheries spokesman.

 

The collision comes as Japan prepares to host a meeting of pro-whaling nations on Tuesday to seek changes to the Internation

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.

Source:
Agencies
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