Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Ady Gil deliberately rammed by Japanese whaler...

Ady Gil collision was deliberate attack, says Sea Shepherd...

What are these? Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson has accused Japanese whalers of a high seas hit-and-run, disputing claims a collision with one of its speedboats was accidental.

Six crew members aboard the anti-whaling ship the Ady Gil were rescued, one with broken ribs, after it and the Japanese whalers' ship the Shonan Maru 2 collided in remote Antarctic waters.

The front end of the high-tech trimaran was sliced off in the collision.

Japan's Fisheries Agency has blamed the crew of the Ady Gil for the crash, saying it slowed suddenly while crossing in front of the Shonan Maru.

But Mr Watson today labelled the claim ridiculous, saying the whaling ship deliberately rammed the boat in a high seas "hit and run".

"The Ady Gil was stationary at the time it was struck," Mr Watson told Macquarie Radio.

Whaling protestor tells of terror:

"The Shonan Maru did a quick turn and came in real fast, they were aiming for the cockpit, where the crew were, and fortunately we got the engines in reverse and backed up just enough so that the front of the ship was torn off instead of hitting the cockpit.

"They were trying to sink the ship.

"We put out a mayday distress signal and the Japanese refused to respond - it was a hit and run really."

Mr Watson said it would be impossible to salvage the Ady Gil, meaning a loss of $2 million for the Sea Shepherd organisation.

A spokesman for the Institute of Cetacean Research in Tokyo, Glenn Inwood, contradicted Sea Shepherd's account of the incident.

"The (Ady Gil) skipper put the boat into full sting to try to cut the Shonan Maru off," he told ABC Radio.

"You can see that the Shonan Maru is moving to the port to try and avoid a collision and there's no avoiding the collision with the Ady Gil.

"It's a fast boat, she heads off full steam in front of it and miscalculates.

"So it's no wonder that it came to the grief that it has."

Mr Watson, asked if the environmental group would press charges against the whalers, he said "there's no law down here, there's no way to bring charges against anybody".

"Japan does what it wants, where it wants.

"They're killing these whales in violation of international law.

"And if they were to injure or kill any of us, their government will justify and defend their actions."

He again called on the Federal Government to send naval ships to stop the whalers exploiting the southern ocean whale sanctuary, which falls in Australia's Antarctic Territory waters.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett yesterday said he had no plans to send a vessel to police the situation, instead calling on both parties to exercise restraint.

"Peter Garrett promised before he was elected that he would come down here and stop the illegal Japanese whaling activities - we're still waiting for him to do so," Mr Watson said.

Acknowledgements: AAP, Fox Sports

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