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Sea Shepherd Saves Whale Pod from whalers!

Sea Shepherd Saves Whale Pod from whalers!

Protest ship collides with whaler,21598,21212600-948,00.html

February 12, 2007 12:00pm

ANTI-WHALING activists say one of their vessels and a Japanese whaling ship have collided near the Ross Sea, sparking a distress call from the Japanese crew.

A statement from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said the whaling vessel, the Kaiko Maru, issued the distress call, which the group had acknowledged, about 5.20pm (3.20pm AEDT) today.

Sea Shepherd leader Captain Paul Watson said the confrontation occurred when the conservation group's vessels, the Robert Hunter and the Farley Mowat, caught the Japanese ship bearing down on a pod of whales.

"At one point the Kaiko Maru turned to starboard and struck the Robert Hunter,'' Sea Shepherd said.

"The Kaiko Maru has issued a distress signal. We have acknowledged this distress signal but they refuse to say what distress they are in."

Earlier it had been reported that the Sea Shepherd activists were threatening to sacrifice a ship by ramming a Japanese whaler.

Captain of the Farley Mowat Paul Watson had said his vessel, was almost out of fuel and he was considering giving the Japanese whaler, the Nisshin Maru, a "steel enema'' by ramming its slipway .

Mr Watson said his boat, currently north of the Balleny Islands, west of the Ross Sea, was now seen as a pirate vessel, and he would rather lose it in defence of whales than to bureaucrats.

"I have spent 30 years of my life trying to protect whales. I am getting sick and tired of politicians doing nothing,'' he said.

He said he intended to take drastic action, probably in the next 24 hours, to slam his vessel into the Nisshin Maru's slipway, preventing it from hunting more whales.

"We would probably be stuck into them. They would have to go back to Tokyo with us sticking out of their rear end,'' he said.

"Perhaps it's time to give these cruel whalers a steel enema they will never forget.''

Mr Watson had said the move could be avoided only by a pledge from the New Zealand or the Australian governments to stop the "criminal operations'' by the Japanese.

"Perhaps it is time for a dramatic showdown after 20 years of illegal whaling activity in the Antarctic Whale Sanctuary,'' Mr Watson said.

The Farley Mowat was rated a pirate vessel after leaving Melbourne on December 29, while the other Sea Shepherd ship, the Robert Hunter, will lose its British registration on February 19.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace anti-whaling protesters have still to find the whaling vessels.

Sara Holden, aboard their vessel the Esperanza, said they were enroute to try to locate the Japanese fleet.

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