Bob Barker and Steve Irwin had been dogging the factory ship Nisshin Maru for eight days, preventing whaling, and were about two nautical miles astern of it early last Sunday.
Then, over the course of 10 hours, three Japanese harpoon ships trailing steel cables and ropes passed repeatedly over the bows of the Sea Shepherd ships in an attempt to turn them away from NM. They managed to entangle the propeller of SI with a rope, but the prop cut it free. Then in one of the passes, Yushin Maru No.2 hit the bow of BB as it crossed in front at high speed. BB sustained buckled bow plates on its starboard side. This was one of 86 such assaults that day.
The assault was a calculated midnight ambush, to oust the SS ships from blocking the slipway of NM, which had prevented the factory ship from being able to butcher and process poached whales. SS vessels held that position for eight consecutive days, ensuring no whales were killed in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Here's raw footage of the Japanese attack...