Saturday, February 6, 2010
Yet another incident and yet another nation involved in antiwhaling activities. The Norwegian/Togo vessel MS Bob Barker and the MS Yushin Maru 3 were involved in a mutual ramming incident at position 65-21 South and 67-58 East or 180 miles from Cape Darnley in Australian Antarctic Territory.
While as usual both sides blame the other it does seem clear that the MS Bob Barker was blocking the slipway of the Japanese whaling factory ship MS Nisshin Maru. In the attempt to move her clear the MS Yushin Maru 3 came into collision with the starboard side of MS Bob Barker. The SS-PG report that a 1 metre gash has been opened in the MS Bob Barker midships starboard side above the waterline (see first photo above).
In the Sea Shepherd Pirate Group website www.seashepherd.org/ there are photos and also in the Japanese website www.icrwhale.org/ which clearly shows the MS Bob Barker flying the flag of Norway as its Flag State. However in its Press Release the Japanese Whalers describe the vessel as having a Flag State of Togo, if this is correct then flying the Norwegian flag in the stern Flag State position is a violation of Maritime Law. In addition to The Netherlands and France it would appear that now Norway must address the issue of violent maritime action by one of its vessels.
The incident is a continuation of the whaling violence with the Japanese far more aggressive this year having adopted the tactics of the SS-PG. Clearly the SS-PG are very rattled by this having always been the aggressors in previous years with very little retaliation by the Japanese Whaling Fleet.
It is now well past time NAUTICAL LOG believes for Australia to deploy its Naval Forces to patrol its Antarctic Territory. This before yet another vessel is sunk or lives are lost on any side. Perhaps Japan, New Zealand, France, The Netherlands and Norway may like to all join in as well.