Activists say 4 boats collide near Antarctica in dustup over whaling
By Associated Press, Published: February 19
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — An anti-whaling activist group accused a Japanese whaling vessel of intentionally ramming two of its ships Wednesday in waters near Antarctica.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Paul Watson said he was aboard the ship Steve Irwin when the Japanese boat Nisshin Maru collided with it, the Bob Barker and a tanker used to refuel the Japanese fleet.
Watson claimed the Japanese boat deliberately rammed the Sea Shepherd boats to try to move them aside and get to the refueling tanker. He said the Japanese boat also accidentally hit the tanker.
“The government condemns so-called ‘scientific’ whaling in all waters and we urge everyone in the ocean to observe safety at sea,” Burke said.
Japan says it hunts whales for scientific purposes, an allowed exception to an international whaling ban, though activists say the hunts are a cover for commercial whaling because whale meat not used for study is sold for consumption in Japan.