This morning our ship the Arctic Sunrise was deliberately rammed and damaged by the Nisshin Maru, the factory ship of the Japanese whaling fleet. Straight after the ramming, the Nisshin Maru began to steam away from the "scene of the crime". However both the Arctic Sunrise and the Esperanza are in pursuit with every intention of continuing to peacefully protest the hunt.
Damage to the bow of the Greenpeace ship MV Arctic Sunrise following a collision with the factory ship of the Japanese whaling fleet, Nisshin Maru. The Nisshin Maru cut across the bow of the Arctic Sunrise, causing the collision.
Speaking from onboard the Arctic Sunrise, expedition leader
ShaneRattenbury said, "There is no way to describe this as anything
but adeliberate ramming which placed the safety of our ship and the
lives ofour crew in severe danger." The Nisshin Maru is more than
twice as longand six times heavier than the Arctic Sunrise. The
impact has left theSunrise "battered and bruised" but luckily no
crew members were injured.
Overnight the Nisshin Maru had been offloading accumulated whale
meatontoa supply vessel and early this morning our activists, in
inflatables,began to paint the words "whale meat from sanctuary" on
the side of thesupply ship. This action in no way impeded the
transfer of the meat andthe tiny inflatables did not represent a
threat to either vessel.
As the activists completed painting the slogan, the Nisshin
Marusuddenlydisengaged from the supply vessel coming around a full
360 degreesbeforemaking for the Arctic Sunrise, which was about a
kilometre away, andstriking it on the port side. The captain of the
Sunrise tried to pullout of the way of the oncoming whaler.
Back on December 21, when the catcher ship the Kyo Maru bumped
theEsperanza, the Japanese Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR)
said "thesame thing occurred five years ago when in 1999 another
collisionoccurred between Japan's research vessels and a Greenpeace
However, it was the Nisshin Maru, not the Arctic Sunrise, which
was atfault for the collision in December 1999 also, as officially
recordedin the Lloyd's database (the international record of
maritime movementsand casualties). International maritime law
states that "any vesselovertaking any other shall keep out of the
way of the vessel beingovertaken."
Watch video of the incident:
We have repeatedly informed the whaling fleet and its
controllingorganisation in Tokyo, the Institute for Cetacean
Research, of our peacefulintentions and explained the purpose of
the protest against the hunt.
But despite the ramming, we are not going to be deterred. "No
amount ofbullying or intimidation will prevent us from defending
the whales, norfrom broadcasting images of the kills to the world,"
Read the weblog for a
first-hand account from Andrew on the Esperanza and
Shane on the Arctic Sunrise. The video is also available in Quicktime, Real Media and Windows Media versions.