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Sea Shepherd activists from the Bob Barker attempt to disable whaling harpoon ship
The first clashes in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary occurred on Wednesday January 5h, when the Bob Barker moved in amongst the Japanese whaling fleet 190 miles North of the French Antarctic base of Dumont D'Urville. Sea Shepherd activists in 2 small inflatable boats clashed with the Japanese harpoon vessel Yushin Maru No3 for over 5 hours.
Video Copyright ICR and used as per ICR web statement for news purposes.
According to an ICR media release (PDF) the anti-whaling activists cut across the bow of the Yushin Maru 3 more than 30 times deploying tow ropes and wires to disable the harpoon vessel. The radar mast of one inflatable was damaged when it come into contact with the bow of the larger vessel.
Further clashes ocurred on January 6 with activists again deploying tow lines and throwing 3 smoke bombs according to an ICR media release PDF.
According to Sea Shepherd the whaling fleet has been desperately trying to avoid being caught by Sea Shepherd detection and has fled over 1500 miles to the Southeast of where they were first detected by a drone reconnaissance deployed by the Steve Irwin on Christmas day. The Nisshin Maru factory ship and the harpoon vessels have been constantly moving since first located by Sea Shepherd. According to Sea Shepherd they do not appear to have had any time to kill whales so far this season.