該國際海上哺乳動物保護組織「海洋看守保育協會」的創始人和領導人華生(Paul Watson)船長說，衝突起因於日本魚叉船介入阻撓史帝夫厄文號的行動。史帝夫厄文號企圖阻止一頭死鯨魚轉送到加工船日新丸號(Nisshin Maru)的船臺。
「12點30分，日新丸號對來自加州的飛行員歐特曼(Chris Aultman )和來自塔斯馬尼亞島的動物星球(Animal Planet)頻道攝影師鄧恩(Ashley Dunn)發射LRAD。鄧恩當時正在替電視節目「鯨魚戰爭(Whale Wars)」拍攝「海洋看守保育協會」的護鯨運動。」華生說。
The Sea Shepherd whale conservation ship Steve Irwin collided with the Japanese whaling vessel Yushin Maru No.2 this morning in the Ross Sea after spending five hours Thursday in a battle with the Japanese, who used a sonic weapon, fouling lines and their ships to attack the conservation vessel.
Captain Paul Watson, founder and leader of the international marine mammal conservation organization Sea Shepherd, says the collision occurred as the Japanese harpoon vessel moved in to block the Steve Irwin's attempt to prevent the transfer of a dead whale up the slipway of the factory ship Nisshin Maru.
"I could not turn to starboard without hitting the Yushin Maru No.1. I tried to back down but the movement of the Yushin Maru No.2 made the colliA second collision happened this afternoon when two of the harpoon vessels ran the Sea Shepherd blockade of the slipway to transfer two dead whales to the factory ship.
"We told them to not continue their illegal whaling operations and that we would be blocking the stern slipway of the factory ship," said Captain Watson. "They decided to test our resolve and apparently expected us to retreat when they charged in ahead of us to make the transfer."
The Nisshin Maru blasted the crew on the Steve Irwin a sonic weapon called a Long Range Acoustical Device, or LRAD. A newly developed weapon that blasts earsplitting noise, the LRAD can produce permanent hearing damage and temporarily disrupt vision.
sion unavoidable," Watson said.
The Yushin Maru No.2 was transferring a second whale killed this morning. "To the Sea Shepherd crew the murder of these defenseless whales is as tragic as if they had lost one of their own," Watson said.
The Japanese say they are conducting legal whaling for scientific purposes with a self-assigned annual quota of more than 900 whales in the Southern Ocean. They maintain that research whaling is legal under the rules of the International Whaling Commission, IWC.
The Sea Shepherd and other conservation groups call the Japanese whaling illegal. "Japanese whaling is violating the Antarctic Treaty, the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna and the regulations of the International Whaling Commission," said Watson.
The Steve Irwin is now directly behind the slipway of the Nisshin Maru attempting to block the transfer of the minke whale's body to the factory ship.
"Seeing the long prolonged agonizing murder of that defenseless whale has made me angry," said Captain Watson. 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," said 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."
Minoru Morimoto, director-general of the Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research today in Tokyo，accusing the Sea Shepherd crew of "criminal attack," Morimoto said, "I call on all member nations of the IWC to condemn these acts of violence by Sea Shepherd and for countries to close their ports to the Dutch vessel."
On Thursday, the fifth day that the Steve Irwin had prevented any whaling by the Japanese fleet by keeping them on the run, the frustration of the whalers erupted.
An endangered fin whale was spotted just after noon.
The Steve Irwin launched two fast inflatable boats to head off any attempt to harpoon the whale and launched its helicopter to film the blocking action.
"At 1230," said Watson, "the Nisshin Maru aimed the Long Range Acoustical Device at helicopter pilot Chris Aultman of California and Animal Planet cameraman Ashley Dunn of Tasmania," who is filming the Sea Shepherd campaign for the TV show "Whale Wars."
"It was extremely irresponsible for the whalers to aim that device at the helicopter," said Watson. "They were doing nothing but filming and presented absolutely no threat to the ships. They demonstrated absolutely no regard for human life."
At this point, the harpoon vessels turned on their LRAD and aimed it at the small boats and the Steve Irwin. "This sonic attack was followed by the Nisshin Maru turning into the Steve Irwin and attempting to actually ram the Sea Shepherd vessel at full speed," Watson said.
The Japanese crew shot the small boat crews with high-pressure water hoses.
The small boats retaliated by threatening to foul the props of the harpoon vessel and also with rotten butter bombs.
At 1700 hours, the harpoon boats backed off and the Steve Irwin resumed the pursuit of the Nisshin Maru, heading due South deep into the Ross Sea.
Watson's strategy is to keep the whaling fleet on the run so they cannot kill whales. He says the Sea Shepherd was successful last year in preventing the killing of close to 500 whales and is confident of doing even better this season.
"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 then 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."
A whaling nation until 1978, Australia established a whale sanctuary in its Exclusive Economic Zone in 1999.
The sanctuary includes the EEZ around the Australian Antarctic Territory, where today's battle is taking place.
In 2008, the Australian Federal Court ruled it was illegal for the Japanese whaling fleet to kill whales in the sanctuary.