update from Sea Shepherd in Antartica fighting the whalers - arrest attempt & another ramming

Ady Gil Captain Attempts to Serve Arrest Warrant to Captain of the Shonan Maru No. 2

On Friday, January 15, 2010, the crew of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s vessel Bob Barker surprised, chased, and engaged the Shonan Maru No. 2, a security ship from the illegal Japanese whaling fleet. The engagement took place between the hours of 8:30 pm and 12:30 am (AEST).

The Shonan Maru No. 2 recently achieved infamy when it violently attacked the Sea Shepherd vessel Ady Gil, threatening the lives of its crew and sinking the vessel due to sustained damage. Today though, the Shonan Maru No. 2 was on the run from the Bob Barker, the irony being that Sea Shepherd adheres to a strict policy of non-violence and has an unblemished 30+ year record of never causing or sustaining any serious injuries while at sea.

Under New Zealand law, a citizen is empowered to serve an arrest warrant on a suspect for a crime that carries a penalty in excess of eight years imprisonment. The charge of attempted murder qualifies and thus Captain Pete Bethune acted in accordance with New Zealand law in his attempt to serve the captain of the Shonan Maru No. 2 who deliberately sank his ship and almost killed his crew and himself.

After a surprise launch, one of Sea Shepherd’s small boats snuck up on the Shonan Maru No. 2 and over a period of more than four hours the Bob Barker slowly closed the gap and harassed the vessel, ordering it to stop and submit to arrest for the crime of attempted murder on the crew of the Ady Gil. Each evasive maneuver from the Shonan Maru No. 2 cost the whalers critical speed.

Said Captain Paul Watson, President and Founder of Sea Shepherd, "Captain Pete Bethune had little choice but to attempt to serve the arrest warrant himself. Down here at the edge of nowhere, without back up from his government, he found he was the only sheriff in town. A captain of a ship that has been sunk by another captain has the authority to bring his attacker to justice. Captain Bethune has been attempting to do just that."

Attempts by this illegal whaling vessel to discourage the small boats launched by the Bob Barker included the use of Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRADs), several very high-pressure water cannons, and evasive maneuvers. Some of the crew aboard the Shonan Maru No. 2 were also wearing cylinders on their backs attached to (as yet unidentified) hand-held devices resembling weapons.

Once it became apparent that the Shonan Maru No. 2 would not submit to the arrest, the Bob Barker turned around to continue the hunt for the factory ship of the illegal Japanese fleet. This will prove difficult with the Shonan Maru No. 2 continuing to follow and monitor the Bob Barker, but Sea Shepherd’s flag ship Steve Irwin is also on the prowl for the illegal whaling fleet, and hopes are high that the floating house of blood known as the Nisshin Maru will soon be located—and shut down.


February 6 2010
Bob Barker Rammed by Illegal Whaler

Nishan Maru rams Bob BarkerAt 1209 PM Fremantle, Australia time, the Yushin Maru 3 intentionally rammed the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker, penetrating it's hull and endangering the lives of it¹s crew. The collision occurred at 65 degrees 21 South, 67 degrees 58 East, about 180 miles off Cape Darnley in the Australian Antarctic Territory.

The Bob Barker had been actively blocking the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, the Japanese whaling fleet’s factory ship when the collision occurred. Four harpoon ships, the Yushin Maru 1, 2, and 3 and Shonan Maru 2, were circling and making near passes to the stern and bow of the Sea Shepherd vessel. The Bob Barker did not move from its position. At which point, the Yushin Maru 3 intentionally rammed the Bob Barker, creating a 3-foot long 4-inch deep gash in the mid starboard side of the Sea Shepherd vessel above the waterline.

No crew was injured during the collision. The Bob Barker continues to block the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, preventing the transfer of slaughtered whales and effectively shutting down illegal whaling operations.

The incident demonstrates a continued escalation of violence by the illegal whalers in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Said Captain Paul Watson from the bridge of the Steve Irwin, currently en route to join the action, “Because the whalers got away basically scot-free with the outrageous sinking of the Ady Gil, they now apparently think they can do whatever they want and they appear to have no qualms about endangering Sea Shepherd crew. What we really need is for the governments of Australia and New Zealand to step up and start enforcing maritime laws in these waters, or who know what the whalers will do next. Australian and New Zealand lives are at risk every day in these waters."

The crew of the Bob Barker noticed that the Yushin Maru 3 stopped moving in the water shortly after the impact, and appeared to be falling behind as the Bob Barker maintained its position on the stern of the Nisshin Maru. It’s possible the Yushin Maru 3 damaged itself in the collision.

The Japanese whalers are far more aggressive this year than in past campaigns.