Drama on the high seas between Japanese whalers and conservationists protesting them continued on Sunday, when two Japanese ships allegedly towed steel cables across the bow of a ship belonging to Sea Shepherd, the group says. According to activists, the harpoon ships Yushin Maru and Yushin Maru 3 towed the lines across the bow of the vessel the Bob Barker 11 times, in an attempt to jam up its propellor. When the activists set out in two smaller boats to cut the cables, they say that a bamboo spear was thrown at them by the whalers.
According to the Guardian, this is just the latest in a series of ongoing clashes between Sea Shepherd and the whalers, who were photographed by activists on Sunday with the carcass of a minke whale on board.
"Each time we have located the Nisshin Maru [factory ship], the Sea Shepherd fleet has been attacked by the whalers in night-time ambushes," said Bob Barker's captain, Peter Hammarstedt. He added that he had written a letter the Australian environment minister, Greg Hunt, calling out his government's failure to punish the whalers for attacking the ship. "They knew this attack was imminent, and yet they did nothing. Hunt's broken promises to monitor the whaling operations are evident in the broken bodies of the whales killed today," he told the Guardian.
Despite a global moratorium on whaling since 1986, Japan still hunts whales under the pretense of "scientific research." The commercial hunting of whales is prohibited in the Southern ocean whale sanctuary, but Japan also whales there under a loophole in the moratorium -- though Australia has sought to declare this activity illegal in an international court.
You can sign a petition to stop Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean here.