Whaling Opponents Collide at Sea

On board the Steve Irwin in the Ross Sea –February 6th, 2009, 0800 Hours (Sydney Time)  February 5th, 2009 1300 Hours (PST), 75 Degrees 44 Minutes South and 165 Degrees 39 Minutes West

The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin collided with the Yushin Maru No.2 this morning in the Ross Sea as the harpoon vessel moved in to block the Steve Irwin’s attempt to prevent the transfer of a dead whale up the slipway of the Nisshin Maru.

“We were in the process of blocking the transfer from the Yushin Maru No.2 when the Yushin Maru No.1 moved directly in front of the bow to block us,” said Captain Watson. “I could not turn to starboard without hitting the Yushin Maru No.1. I tried to back down but the movement of the Yushin Maru No.2 made the collision unavoidable.”

The Yushin Maru No.2 was transferring a 2nd whale killed this morning. To the Sea Shepherd crew the murder of these defenceless whales is as tragic as if they had lost one of their own. The three harpoon boats had spread out over the night in an arc of fifteen miles. Earlier in the day, one of them returned to the Nisshin Maru with a whale in tow and quickly transferred it to the flensing deck. Within minutes, thick red blood could be seen pouring from the scupper holes on both sides of the ship into the sea.

“The whalers have decided to test our resolve,” said 1st Officer Peter Hammarstedt. “They have escalated this battle to see just how determined we are to protect these whales. We’re shepherds and we will do what we can to protect our flock from these murderous poachers.”

The Yushin Maru No.3 has also killed a whale but is unable to approach the factory ship because the Steve Irwin is now guarding the slipway.

The Sea Shepherd crew intend to hold this position to prevent the transfer.

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About Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an International non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protects ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations. Founder and President Captain Paul Watson, is a renowned, respected leader in environmental issues. Visit www.seashepherd.org for more information.

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