Skip to content or view screen version

Sea Shepherd blames acoustic weapon attack for Ramming Whaling ship

Takver - Sydney Indymedia | 06.02.2009 14:06 | Animal Liberation | Ecology | Ocean Defence | World

The Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin has rammed the Yushin Maru No 3 whaling harpoon ship while under attack by Long Range acoustic weapons. Captain Paul Watson said "I was dazed by the sonic blasts being used on us at close range. I have to admit it was difficult to concentrate with that devise being focused on us."

Yushin Maru 3 rammed by Sea Shepherd (Photo: ICR)
Yushin Maru 3 rammed by Sea Shepherd (Photo: ICR)

Yushin Maru 2 rammed by Sea Shepherd (Photo: Sea Shepherd)
Yushin Maru 2 rammed by Sea Shepherd (Photo: Sea Shepherd)

Whale hauled up slipway (Photo: Sea Shepherd)
Whale hauled up slipway (Photo: Sea Shepherd)

Whale about to be butchered for whale steaks (Photo: ICR)
Whale about to be butchered for whale steaks (Photo: ICR)

No injuries occurred during the collision. It was the second ship collision during an eventful day in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in the Ross Sea near Antarctica. The Japanese Whaling fleet has decided to stop running from Sea Shepherd and recommenced whale slaughtering which has provoked confrontations between the whalers and Sea Shepherd activists.

With the Japanese Whaling Fleet using three harpoon boats, Sea Shepherd does not have the resources to prevent harpooning of whales. Once harpooned, the whales need to be transferred to the rear slipway of the factory ship, the Nisshin Maru. Sea Shepherd have endeavoured to block the transferring of dead whales by placing their boat, the Steve Irwin, right behind the Nisshin Maru. Both collisions have ocurred in this situation with the Japanese attempting to force Sea Shepherd from blocking access to the Nisshin Maru slipway, while pounding the activists with hire pressure water jets, Longe Range acoustic Device which can daze or confuse people within its range, and metal objects.

Second Collision<

A collision between the Steve Irwin and Yushin Maru No.3 harpoon vessel ocurred at February 6th, 2009, 1830 Hours (Sydney Time), 2330 Hours (PST) (February 5th).
* Watch ICR video footage at San Fransisco Bay Area Indymedia

According to Captain Paul Watson from Sea Shepherd "We told them to not continue their illegal whaling operations and that we would be blocking the stern slipway of the factory ship. They decided to test our resolve and apparently expected us to retreat when they charged in ahead of us to make the transfer."

The collision during the transfer of a the dead whale to the Nisshin Maru factory ship occurred between the Steve Irwin and the Yushin Maru No.3 harpoon vessel with the forward starboard side of the Steve Irwin and the port stern side of the harpoon vessel coming together. According to Watson Sea Shepherd were under a barrage from high pressure hoses, metal objects and the acoustic weapon which made the Steve Irwin difficult to control. "I was dazed by the sonic blasts being used on us at close range." said Captain Watson. "I have to admit it was difficult to concentrate with that devise being focused on us."

Emily Hunter, daughter of Greenpeace founder and journalist Bob Hunter, said "I've never felt anything quite like it. It penetrates the body and you can feel your muscles vibrating. It made me dizzy and left me somewhat dazed."

Director-General of the Institute of Cetacean Research, Mr Minoru Morimoto said "The Steve Irwin 'captain' is completely ignoring the safety of crews aboard both the Dutch vessel and the Japanese research vessels and engaging in extremely dangerous behavior. Due to Sea Shepherd's increasingly violent actions the risk of a more grave and serious accident
happening is increasing by the hour,” he added. He called for the Government of the Netherlands and Australia being held accountable for "serious criminal acts at sea."

Mr Minoru Morimoto has not commented on the use of a Long Range Acoustic Device in the Antarctic Treaty Zone. The Antarctic Treaty forbids the presence or use of military weapons in Antarctica.

* Watch video of Sea Shepherd under acoustic attack
* Sea Shepherd: Whalers using Weapons in violation of Antarctic Treaty

"I wish we did not have to be down here in this dangerous situation," said Captain Watson. "I've said repeatedly that if Australia or New Zealand would agree to take Japan to the international court on this than we would back off. Because international law is not being enforced, we have no choice but to do what we can with the resources available to us to defend these endangered whales in this established international whale sanctuary."

In the previous whaling season the Australian Government sent a Customs vessel to document the Japanese whaling operation. Although the Labor Government of Kevin Rudd and Environment Minister Peter Garrett made strong statements to stop Japanese commercial whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary when elected in 2007, there has only been diplomatic overtures made and effectively ignored by the Japanese Government. No action has been taken to initiate international legal action against Japan, even though the actions of the whaling fleet has contravened several international agreements.

First Collision

The Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin collided with the Yushin Maru #2 on February 6th, 2009 0800 Hours (Sydney Time), 1300 Hours (PST) (February 5th), while the Steve Irwin's attempted to prevent the transfer of a dead whale up the slipway of the Nisshin Maru.

“Just after the second whale was being transferred to the Nisshin Maru, the Dutch vessel came forward and rammed the Yushin Maru No.2 at the stern. While no-one was injured, the
circumstances could have been much worse, even fatal,” said Mr Minoru Morimoto, the Director General of the Institute of Cetacean Research in a press release.

"The whalers have decided to test our resolve," said 1st Officer Peter Hammarstedt on board the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin. "They have escalated this battle to see just how determined we are to protect these whales. We're shepherds and we will do what we can to protect our flock from these murderous poachers."

Captain Paul Watson from the Steve Irwin said "We were in the process of blocking the transfer from the Yushin Maru #2 when the Yushin Maru #1 moved directly in front of the bow to block us. I could not turn to starboard without hitting the Yushin Maru #1. I tried to back down but the movement of the Yushin Maru #2 made the collision unavoidable."

While the Steve Irwin maintains position behind the Nisshin Maru, they are blasted with high pressure water hoses and the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) sonic weapons.

Both Sea Shepherd and the whalers have attempted to foul each others propellors in a deadly game of manourvering and circling in the icy seas. Sea Shepherd have fired warning flares towards harpoon boats attempting to cross its bow.

Sea Shepherd used its small helicopter, called the Kookaburra, to videotape the harpooning and shooting of a Minke whale during the morning, 10 miles away from the Steve Irwin. According to Sea Shepherd the whale took 25 minutes to die after being struck with a harpoon and receiving 7 shots from a high powered rifle. The icy sea was full of blood.

"We can't cover all the harpoon vessels with the resources we have," said Sea Shepherd U.K. director Steve Roest who was injured as a result of a sonic blast from a Long Range Acoustical Device (LRAD). "These hunter killer ships are out for blood, our blood and the blood of the whales."

The whalers have pointed their Long Range Acoustic Device weapon at the Sea Shepherd helicopter, endangering the lives of the pilot and cameraman on board.

The Steve Irwin positioned itself behind the slipway of the Nisshin Maru in an attempt to block the transfer of the whale's body to the factory ship.

"Seeing the long prolonged agonizing murder of that defenceless whale has made me angry," said Captain Paul Watson. "Very angry. We are going to make a stand here today to shut this obscenity down. It will be dangerous but we did not come down here to witness the slaughter of whales, we came down to stop the killing. We have a very big disadvantage," continued Watson. "Japan will defend the violence of their mad dog killers. Our governments don't have the guts and will condemn us for defending ourselves and the whales. Sometimes you just have to say, what the hell and make a stand and that is what we intend to do here today. We intend to make a stand."

Japan is claiming their commercial whaling operation is for research, and is undertaken under the scientific research provisions of the International Whaling Commission. The Japanese Fisheries have set their own catch quota for their 'research' this year at 900 Mincke whales and 50 of the Fin whales, which are listed as an endangered species. Although the Institute for Cetacean Research says they collect "100 kinds of biological data and samples from each whale carcass", there is a distinct lack of peer reviewed scientific publication of the research. Other whale researchers dispute that lethal research is necessary for collection of most data.

"If the anti-whaling nations had the same resolve and determination to stop whaling that Japan has for slaughtering them, we could end their obscenity," said Captain Paul Watson. "These whales are dying because of the passive complacency of Australia, New Zealand, the USA and the other so called anti-whaling members of the International Whaling Commission."


* Institute for Cetacean Research
* Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Takver - Sydney Indymedia


Onboard ramming video

07.02.2009 16:35

until all are free
- Homepage:


Hide the following 10 comments

Quite right

06.02.2009 15:54

A local gang used to crash cars on country roads by photographing them.

If someone flashes their headlights at you it can be disorientating. If someone deliberately tries to blind you then all you can do is hit the brakes and pray.

In an ideal world the Sea Sheperd would be equipped with torpedoes. Short of that, this is brilliant. It is not a cause close to my heart but the next money I donate will be to these people for their guts and sense.

I know friends and relatives who currently donate to Greenpeace that I will try to swap donations for too.

The weapons that are currently being used in the south seas are trials for equipment that we will all soon face. This is an opportunity to nip this in the bud.

Am bambi, grr

well done sea shepherd

06.02.2009 16:52

fantastic stuff.
i agree with previous poster - give them torpedoes...


Do they ?

06.02.2009 16:58

Do they use this acoustic weapon as part of their hunting equipment to confuse the whales ?
Or is it just to use against humans ??
Good luck with your efforts ..


Jericho walls

06.02.2009 17:18

This corporation is using noise weapons directly against protestors, just out of sight.

Naval sonar is a different, related issue. The Royal Navy kills whales with sonar that would deafen any diver. A deaf whale is a dead whale. Virtualy every beached whale in the UK in recent history has been killed by Royal Navy sonar.

The whalers, to the best of my knowledge, are solely trying to deafen protestors with new weapons. If they get away with this then every legitimate protest will soon suffer the same weaponary. Something to make a noise about.


It breaks my heart

06.02.2009 20:50

I feel such deep & profound grief that the Royal Navy are killing the whales by deafening them ... such beautifully sentient creatures who have done no harm. This is a travesty of any ethical code. The Japanese whalers are more explicit, and no less deadly. How do they sleep at night? Because they have been able to bring home the money with which to feed their families and survive another week. We rape and kill and damage, bail out the banks to the tune of billions who are behind the raping and killing and damage, and I find myself just utterly heart-broken. I don't know what to do with so much grief.

How dare they - the fuckers! The whalers, the Royal Navy, the bankers, the millions that have been garnered through rape, murder and destruction ... all facets of the self-same instrument of suicidal egotism.

Sea Shepard - you are in my prayers, for whatever that may count.

Heart Broken

Video link correction

07.02.2009 00:20

until all are free

Broken Heart, Broken Knee

07.02.2009 00:40

Wow, what a powerful post. I've known about 'active sonar' for years so I almost assume everyone does, and I do forget how I felt when I first found out. I first found out by linvestigating a dead whale on a beach in Skye I lived on, near to Kyle where Qinetiq test this shit. It is a big eye to stare into.

Active sonar kills a lot of sea life, but we notice the dead mammals like dolphins. It is not the only man-made noise that kills sea dwellers, explosions and drilling do too. Every modern navy is adopting active sonar though, to track 'silent submarines', not just the Royal Navy. Just this week an Indian submarine was chased by two Chinese ships off the coast of Somalia, to test the others active sonar.

There are people and groups who specialise in this, probably the leaders are the US groups like
for the simple reason the technology was developed there.

There are similar European groups too, some more radical than others, some who recruit here for the odd action. There will be a local company to you who is to blame for this, read the IM archive and do some research, and don't be heartbroken, be active. Try not to lose the emotions you just displayed, that is your strength, that is the whales protection.

- Homepage:

Until all are free = whalers spokesman

08.02.2009 03:23

Until all are free stop posting your ICR (whalers) propaganda on these boards. Only the whalers are claimign it was a ramming. It was in fact an unavoidable colision caused by the whalers use of a sonic weapon which dazed the Sea Shepherd crew.

We can do without the pro-whaling propaganda you spout.

Everybody please ignore until all are free, who is using a animal liberation sounding name but is in reality just repeating the whalers lies.

Tru Colours

Petition to prosecute

08.02.2009 11:56

Dear Anthony Albanese,

I am writing to you in your role of Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. I would like to report a serious crime and to urge your government to prosecute it.

The crime is the use of LRAD sonic weapons against the Sea Shepherd and it's helicopter by the Japanese whaler Nisshin Maru on 6/02/09.
Long Range Acoustic Devices have been used against violent pirate attacks on vessels although the Sea Shepherd is unarmed. However this is the first time anyone has used used the weapon against an aircraft. Since the noise can interfere with vision and hearing, and very probably instrumentation. then that is a clear attempt to crash the helicopter. At the very least this is an attempted murder but it also breeches too many Civil Aviation laws to list, and is also a breech of the Antartic Treaty Zone.

I am a British citizen so will write to my own government and the various international authorities, but I am hopeful of a reply from you as my Australian relatives all think of you as a decent man.

best regards,


Tolerance please ?

09.02.2009 06:39

So why do we love whales so much ?
There are a lot more important things that we need to plan and create for the future of the human race, than an ocean full of saved whales. Will we as humans suffer if the whale popluation declines ? Probably not. Any comments ?

In any case, whale meat / products as food are vastly more expensive than agriculture-derived alternatives, so there will never be sufficient retail demand to create an threat of whale extinction. The world's economy has moved on since the large scale whaling era of the 19th and 20th century - the whale is no longer needed except in minor quantities to suit some fairly esoteric demand.

Yep. Whales are cool. Greenpeace is cool. We care.. (But not about pigs, because even though pigs are as smart as whales, they shit everywhere and stink, unlike whales, which, living in the ocean, just smell a but fishy.)

Why only three LRADs ? Its obvious that the Japanese are taking a very tolerant approach with these people. They are not using laser dazzlers, skin and eye irritant chemicals, dedicated vessels to interdict the Steve Irwin, water equipment any stronger than deck fire hoses, or a boarding party once satisfied that the anti whaling people's actions are a danger to life... Have fun, take some nice pics, and go home...

Reinhard Heydrich