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Japanese Whalers Playing Dangerous Games in the Ross Sea

ss | 04.02.2009 23:05 | Animal Liberation | Ecology | Ocean Defence | World

At 0500 Hours Sydney, Australia time on February 4th, the three harpoon vessels of the Japanese whaling fleet literally attacked the Steve Irwin.

The Yushin Maru #2 has rejoined the fleet after leaving the area on December 20th with propeller damage. All three harpoon ships moved in to flank the Steve Irwin as the Sea Shepherd ship continued to chase the factory ship Nisshin Maru.

The Yushin Maru #2 initiated the attack by cutting dangerously close across the bow of the Steve Irwin from port to starboard in seas that were far from calm. The other two harpoon vessels Yushin Maru #1 and Yushin Maru #3 made the same dangerous maneuvers

The movements of the Japanese vessels are especially dangerous in the choppy seas and dense fog conditions.

"It has given us some very dramatic footage for the next season of Whale Wars," said Captain Paul Watson. "But if their intention was to intimidate us, it did not work. When it comes to playing chicken on the high seas, we have much more experience than the whalers."

Today is day four of the Steve Irwin's pursuit of the Japanese whaling fleet and four days in which not a single whale has been killed.

"The crew is feeling very good, very happy and we are all enthusiastic about keeping the whales safe for as long as we can," said Amber Paarman of South Africa.

The whaling fleet is crisscrossing the Ross Sea erratically. The whalers appear to becoming increasingly frustrated and angry that Sea Shepherd has shut down their whaling operations.