Who rammed whom?

Feature story - 28 December, 2005
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 vessel.

Greenpeace puts the utmost emphasis on safety. Our crew are thoroughlytrained and equipped to ensure the  safe operations underdangerous conditions. 

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.