Stand By To Graze!

Back in 1993 when the Sea Shepherd ship Cleveland Amory came within a metre of the Cuban drag trawler Rio Los Casa while opposing over-fishing, the Canadian Coast Guard accused Sea Shepherd of ramming the Cuban vessel. Captain Paul Watson was charged and later acquitted for that action but during the trial the Coast Guard said that such a close maneuver was never acceptable under any circumstances.

On Sunday the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Des Groseilliers twice struck the Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat, buckling plates in the hull above the water line. Phil Jenkins of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has called the charge absolutely false and said that the icebreaker only "grazed" the Farley Mowat.

The Coast Guard have not said anything and it is a mystery as to how the DFO can be commenting on something they were not involved in but when is a ramming not a ramming? According to DFO, it is not a ramming if the ships "graze." So according to the DFO the ships "grazed" and not only was the graze a hard one but they "grazed" the Farley Mowat twice.

"The fact remains that the Canadian Coast Guard acted in a grossly reckless manner," said Captain Paul Watson. "The Coast Guard should be concentrating on search and rescue operations instead of going around "grazing" vessels trying to document the inhumanity of the most savage slaughter of marine mammals on the planet."

Pictures of the Des Groseilliers ramming the Farley Mowat have been posted on the Seals 2008 photos page.

The ramming was also videotaped and the video will be made available as soon as it can be transported from the ship to the shore.

The DFO may spin the story anyway they want but the images don't lie and the video and the photographs very clearly show the Coast Guard vessel striking the Farley Mowat in a reckless and unprofessional manner.

"I don't think there is any question that the Coast Guard are incompetent," said Captain Watson. "When I was with the Canadian Coast Guard we never took a vessel under tow in such conditions and allowed the crew to remain onboard and we always posted a watch to keep the vessel under observation at all times. Here we have the Coast Guard questioning the safety standards on my ice class steel hulled vessel that I've navigated through Antarctic pack ice for years and they are indifferent to the safety of sealers on fragile wooden and aluminum hulled vessels in heavy ice. The Coast Guard needs to get their priorities sorted out and they need to stop being the errand boys for the DFO."

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