- The Washington Times - Monday, February 3, 2014

A Japanese whaling ship and an anti-whaling protest boat collided off Antarctica on Sunday, with both sides blaming each other for the crash.

Activists from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society each year try and harass whalers into ending their hunt. This time, Sea Shepherd members said it was the fault of Japan’s Yushin Maru No. 3, that had crossed too closely in front of their Bob Barker ship during a confrontation that lasted several hours, the Associated Press reported.

“It was an unprovoked attack and they did so ruthlessly,” said boat captain Peter Hammarstedt.

However, Japan maintains that the Bob Barker crashed into the whaling ship after activists on dinghies dropped ropes in front of the bow of the Yushin Maru, and the Bob Barker drew too close.

No one was injured in the crash but the bow and anchor were reportedly damaged on the Bob Barker and the Yushin Maru suffered damage to its hull and railing, AP reported.

Australia’s Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt on Monday ordered an investigation into the collision.

“This must be a message to both parties — whalers and protesters: These are dangerous waters, nobody can play any games with safety, nobody can play any games with international maritime law,” he said.

Japan is able to hunt whales for scientific purposes under an exception to a 1986 international ban on whaling.

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