Anti-Whaling Vessel in Ship Collision with Japanese Boat

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Confrontation and a collision in the Southern Ocean and two different accounts.

The Sea Shepherd conservation society says a Japanese security boat rammed their high-tech protest boat, the Ady Gil.

Japan's Fisheries Agency says the collision happened when the Ady Gil suddenly slowed in front of the Japanese vessel.

Sea Shepherd's founder Paul Watson, insists it was a deliberate move.

[Paul Watson, Sea Shephard Captain]:
"The Shonan Maru Number 2, the Japanese government security vessel accompanying the whaling fleet deliberately rammed us, and then refused to acknowledge the distress signal."

The Sea Shepherd's anti-whaling activists are protesting the activities of a government backed Japanese whaling fleet. Japan defends this limited whaling as a cultural tradition.

Paul Watson is undeterred.

[Paul Watson, Sea Shephard Captain]:
"I think they think they can demoralise us with these kind of tactics, but we're going to continue to pursue the whaling fleet for as long as, you know, we have vessels to do so."

Meantime Australia's environment minister reiterated Australia's opposition to whaling, and called on both parties to exercise restraint.

[Peter Garret, Australian Minister for the Environment]:
"This government respects the right of peaceful protest including on the high seas. It condemns any dangerous or any other violent activity that takes place on the high seas, it continues to oppose the taking of whales in the name of science in the Southern Ocean and reiterates its call for the utmost restraint to be exercised by all parties."

Six crew on board the 1.4 million dollar trimaran were rescued and are now on board another vessel, the Bob Barker.

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