Monday, February 24, 2014

Whale Wars Heat Up!

Last night (Sunday), the Japanese whalers launched a 6hr.attack on the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker.
The harpoon ships Yushin Maru and Yushin Maru No.3, crossed the bow of BB 33 times at close range during the assault - in violation of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) - dragging steel cable in an attempt to disable BB's propellers and rudders.
BB was sailing 6nm behind the factory vessel Nisshin Maru when the attack began. The assault was an attempt to deter BB from blocking the slipway of NM, where it was preventing the loading of whales.
NM had been located early on Sunday morning for the third time this season by Steve Irwin's helicopter. However the whalers delayed an attack on BB until Sunday night, launching it under cover of darkness.
Bob Barker in action
The harpoon ships' crew threw ice at the crew of the BB's small boats, which were launched to defend the conservation ship from the onslaught. The whalers also blinded the BB bridge with powerful searchlights, impairing vision and endangering navigation. After midnight, NM was lost from BB's radar.
BB is currently within close range of Yushin Maru and Yushin Maru No.3, and can confirm the two harpoon vessels are unable to whale. Since locating NM on Sunday, the Sea Shepherd fleet was able to chase it out of the Ross Sea. SI and Sam Simon are trail-free and shadowing it.
This is the second time this month that BB has been attacked by the Japanese whaling fleet. On 02 Feb., the conservation ship was struck by YM3 in a 9hr.attack on the SS ships, during which the harpoon ships crossed the bows of the SS ships 86 times.

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