It's one of the most tense anti-whaling Antarctic clashes of the past decade.
Japanese whalers have made several attempts to break Sea Shepherd's blockade of their Korean tanker Sun Laurel. The 8,000 tonne factory ship Nisshin Maru has collided several times with Bob Barker while trying to force its massive bulk between BB and the tanker.
Paul Watson: "NM first rammed BB and pushed it into the side of SL. Concussion grenades were deployed against BB, and near the tanker. Then NM rammed Sam Simon in the port quarter...very intense."
Earlier, the 12,500- tonne Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force icebreaker Shirase arrived on the scene in Mackenzie Bay, near the coast of the Aust.Antarctic Territory far to the SW of Perth. Asked if the military vessel would be used in the conflict, thus escalating the situation, Japan's consul-general in Melbourne, Hidenobu Sobashima, said: "We are not in a position to comment on the movement of the ships." Riiiiight! The icebreaker was scheduled to be in the region conducting Antarctic marine scientific work. Coincidence...?
Of course, as expected, the nasty Nippons claim that SS rammed into NM, and quickly released video footage in support. But as always it comes down to the angle of the camera, and SS's footage from its helicopter puts the aquatic action into dangerous perspective...