Sea Shepherd denies ramming Japan whalers
26-Feb 17:00
Sea Shepherd's Bob Barker (R) and fuel tanker Sun Laurel (Reuters)

The whaling war in the Southern Ocean is heating up and so is the propaganda war.

Both the Japanese and Sea Shepherd have release dramatic footage of their ships colliding, and both sides claim the other was to blame.

Sea Shepherd footage shows its ship moving in as it appears to be boxed in by a Japanese factory ship and its supply tanker.

“Nisshin Maru comes in and pushes and rams our vessels to try and make their way through,” says captain Paul Watson. “So they're the ones making the aggressive move to break through our blockade.”

In the Japanese version, as Sea Shepherd moves in, you hear loudspeaker warnings and see water cannons firing. Then there is a deliberate ramming. The whalers say it was one of about half a dozen, to stop them refuelling.

“That's like having a schoolboy go and kick George Foreman in the knee,” says Mr Watson. “That's an 8000-tonne ship. We're not going to ram it.”

Mr Watson says it comes down to physics.

“What you're seeing there is the Bob Barker between 5000-tonne San Laurel the 8000-tonne Nisshin Maru, and the forces of water. They're hitting us with water canons. They're throwing grenades. We're not throwing any projectiles at them. We're just simply holding our ground and we have every right to do so. We're in the right-of-way.”

But the whalers claim the protesters are well in the wrong, because of a court ruling ordering Sea Shepherd to stay at least 500m from Japanese ships.

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