We've been here before: the Southern Ocean, the Japanese whaling fleet, Greenpeace defending the lives of whales in the face of so called "scientific whaling". And in true de ja vu style, the whalers are once again accusing Greenpeace of recklessness -- after one of their catcher ships, the Kyo-maru, rammed our vessel Esperanza.
Japanese whaling fleet catcher ship Kyo Maru No.1 heads towards the Greenpeace ship Esperanza in the Southern Ocean.
Frank Kamp, the captain of the Esperanza said: "Regarding the
Kyo-maru,the catcher hit the Esperanza. The Esperanza was on the
steady coursebehind the Nisshin Maru. The Kyo Maru approached the
Esperanza from thestern on the port side. The Kyo Maru was obliged
byInternational Collision legislation to give way to the Esperanza,
asthey came from behind. They came close then moved toward us and
madecontact on our port side. We have kept steady course the whole
time.The Esperanza suffered no damage."
In a similar incident in 1999, (oddly on exactly the same day,
December21st) the same tactic was attempted by the whalers. To
this day,Lloyds List, which is the definitive resource on maritime
incidents,puts the blame squarely on the Japanese whaling
Greenpeace puts the utmost emphasis on safety. Our crew are
thoroughlytrained and equipped to ensure the safe operations
The same whalers who call their whaling programme
"scientificresearch" (despite the fact that the International
WhalingCommission has termed the programme scientifically useless)
wantyou to believe that Greenpeace is reckless.
But there's rhetoric, and there's reality.
We had our helicopter team in the air capturing the actions
onvideo when the collisions occurred. You can view the video
here,and judge foryourself (29 meg)
Read the response to the ICR letter from Greenpeace Japan.