Update from the Ross Sea
February 6th, 2009, 1830 Hours (Sydney Time)
2330 Hours (PST) (February 5th)
75 Degrees 52 Minutes South and 165 Degrees 18 Minutes West
At 1800 Hours the harpoon vessels Yushin Maru No. 1 and the Yushin Maru No.3 decided to run the Sea Shepherd blockade to transfer two dead whales to the flensing deck of the Nisshin Maru. The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin was blocking the slipway to prevent the transfer in order to shut down the illegal Japanese whaling operations.
As the Nisshin Maru attempted to hook onto the dead whale, the Steve Irwin and the Yushin Maru No.3 collided with the forward starboard side of the Steve Irwin and the port stern side of the harpoon vessel coming together.
"We told them to not continue their illegal whaling operations and that we would be blocking the stern slipway of the factory ship," said Captain Paul Watson. "They decided to test our resolve and apparently expected us to retreat when they charged in ahead of us to make the transfer."
Captain Watson said that the Steve Irwin became difficult to control under a barrage of metal objects, blasts from the water cannons, and the disorientation caused by the LRAD acoustic weapons that the whalers were using on the conservationists.
"I was dazed by the sonic blasts being used on us at close range." said Captain Watson. "I have to admit it was difficult to concentrate with that devise being focused on us."
"I've never felt anything quite like it," said Emily Hunter from Toronto, Canada. "It penetrates the body and you can feel your muscles vibrating. It made me dizzy and left me somewhat dazed."
The Steve Irwin suffered no noticeable damage from the collision and no one was seriously injured. A few of the Sea Shepherd crew were struck by golf balls and pieces of metal. The crew of the Steve Irwin were unable to determine if there was any damage done to the harpoon hunter killer boat.
The two whales were transferred after the Steve Irwin shut down the operations of the fleet for twelve hours.
"We are trying to make this as difficult as possible for them to continue their illegal activities, "said Molly Kendall from Adelaide, South Australia. "It is difficult to see them murdering these whales and we are determined to do everything we possibly can to stop this horrific slaughter."
The Steve Irwin remains on the tail of the Nisshin Maru to attempt to obstruct any further transfers in an effort to stop the unlawful poaching of the whales by the Japanese whaling fleet.
"I wish we did not have to be down here in this dangerous situation," said Captain Watson. "I've said repeatedly that if Australia or New Zealand would agree to take Japan to the international court on this than we would back off. Because international law is not being enforced, we have no choice but to do what we can with the resources available to us to defend these endangered whales in this established international whale sanctuary."
Sea Shepherd's M/Y Steve Irwin (foreground) collides with Japanese harpoon
whaling ship the Yushin Maru No. 3. Sea Shepherd attempted to block the
harpoon ship from offloading a newly caught minke whale to factory ship,
the Nisshin Maru (background). Photo by Adam Lau/Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
Sea Shepherd's M/Y Steve Irwin (foreground) collides with Japanese
harpoon whaling ship the Yushin Maru No. 3. Sea Shepherd attempted
to block the harpoon ship from offloading a newly caught minke whale
to factory ship, the Nisshin Maru (background).
Photo by Adam Lau/Sea Shepherd Conservation Society