The Yushin Maru No. 3 deliberately turned into Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ship the Gojira today in an attempt to ram and destroy the fast multi hulled vessel skippered by Captain Locky MacLean.
"It was like staring death in the face when that steel hull suddenly turned into us. We just narrowly avoided being cut in half," said Captain MacLean.
Both vessels were on a parallel course, with the Yushin Maru No. 3 on the starboard side of the Gojira. Suddenly the Yushin Maru No. 3 made a hard turn to their port in an attempt to disable the Gojira.
Captain MacLean saw this in time to hit the throttle, effectively avoiding collision with the Yushin Maru No. 3 with the stern of the Gojira by a mere 10 feet.
Delta boat operator Chad Halstead narrowly avoided being injured when one of the whalers threw a bamboo spear at the boat crew. Sea Shepherd crew recovered a few of these potentially lethal bamboo spears.
The Gojira and the small boats from the Bob Barker were harassing the Yushin Maru No. 3 with stink and paint bombs in an attempt to keep the whaler from tailing Sea Shepherd's vessel the Bob Barker. The operation was a success. The Bob Barker has lost its tail and is now free to search out the Japanese Nisshin Maru factory ship.
With the Bob Barker escaping their grasp, the Yushin Maru No. 3 issued an international distress signal saying they were under attack by Sea Shepherd ships the Bob Barker and the Gojira. However, the Bob Barker was over seven miles away when the whalers issued their distress signal.
Both the Bob Barker and the Gojira acknowledged the distress signal and radioed the Yushin Maru No. 3 to inquire as to the nature of their distress. They were radioed three times in Japanese and in English but refused to reply.
Despite the fact that Sea Shepherd responded to the distress from the whalers and recorded and monitored this acknowledgment, the Institute for Cetacean Research issued a media release accusing Sea Shepherd of not offering assistance when in fact assistance was offered three times.
The Gojira radioed the Yushin Maru No. 3 stating that they would not be hassled if they stopped trailing the Bob Barker. Sea Shepherd views the tailing of their ships as provocation.
The Bob Barker is now free and clear of the Yushin Maru No. 3 and able to continue the pursuit of the Nisshin Maru. The Bob Barker and the Gojira will continue to pursue and harass the Japanese whaling fleet while the Sea Shepherd flagship the Steve Irwin refuels and takes on supplies in Wellington, New Zealand.