Sunday February 2, 2014 – At approximately 0650 AEDT today, The Bob Barker, was hit by the Japanese whaling fleet’s harpoon vessel, the Yushin Maru No. 2 as the harpoon vessel crossed in front of the bow of the Sea Shepherd ship at 67° 29’ S 164 °01’ W.
The incident is a part of an attack by the Japanese whaling fleets’ three harpoon vessels, the Yushin Maru, Yushin Maru No. 2 and Yushin Maru No. 3 on the Sea Shepherd ships, The Steve Irwin and The Bob Barker, which began at approximately 0001 this morning AEDT. The ships were located at approximately 68° 40’ S and 163° 43’ W at the time the attack began.
The assault is an attempt to deter the Sea Shepherd ships from their current position, blocking the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, preventing the whalers from loading whales poached from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
During the attack, currently ongoing as of 0730 AEDT, the harpoon vessels overtook the Sea Shepherd ships from the stern, crossing the bow, and coming as close as three to five metres. Captain Peter Hammarstedt of The Bob Barker and Captain Siddarth Chakravarty of The Steve Irwin have thus far been able to steer out of the path of the encroaching harpoon vessels, only narrowly avoiding numerous potential collisions.
The whaling vessels have also made consecutive attempts to foul the propellers of the Sea Shepherd ships by dragging steel cable across the bow of the conservation ships. Further, the crew of the whaling vessels threw projectiles at The Steve Irwin’s small boat crew and turned water cannons on The Bob Barker’s small boat crew as they attempted to cut the steel cables.
This season, Sea Shepherd’s direct intervention has led to a disastrous January for the illegal operations of the Japanese whaling fleet. Early interception and a persistent chase has enabled the Sea Shepherd Fleet to effectively suspend whaling operations and allowed the fleet to take up position and secure the slipway of the Nisshin Maru.