Lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld has filed a criminal complaint, accusing the crew of the Nisshin Maru whaling ship of deliberately ramming SS's ships last month.
The case is being brought in the Netherlands because SS's ships Steve Irwin and Bob Barker both sail under the Dutch flag. This action intensifies a legal battle going on between SS and the nasty Nippons, stemming from their repeated clashes in the Southern Ocean in recent years.
Zegveld accuses NM's captain Tomoyuki Ogawa and his crew of crimes including 'sea robbery', a little-heard offence formerly used to prosecute pirates (this charge has recently been dusted off in the Netherlands to prosecute Somali pirates captured by the Dutch navy): "The NM is guilty of piracy, violence against the crew of a sea vessel, endangering safe navigation and the destruction of SS vessels; all punishable offences under the Dutch Criminal Code." Zegveld accuses the whalers of deliberately ramming the SS vessels during refueling operations in the Southern Ocean on Feb.20th and 25th.
It is the second time Zegveld has attempted to nail the Japanese whalers on behalf of SS. Prosecutors declined to open a case in 2010, but Zegveld says circumstances have now changed - both SI and BB sail under the Dutch flag, giving prosecutors a stronger foundation for laying charges. She feels the Public Prosecutor's Office now cannot argue that there's insufficient Dutch interest to bring a prosecution or refuse to do so for other reasons.