Video: Sea Shepherd ship collides with Nisshin Maru and fuel tanker

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    Here is the latest video clip of the ongoing clash between the radical animal rights group Sea Shepherd and Japanese whaling ships in the Southern Ocean:


    According to Sea Shepherd:

    The Japanese whaling fleet, poaching whales from Antarctica’s Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, creates a collision as they attempt an illegal refuelling operation. Sea Shepherd Ship Bob Barker peacefully blocks the whalers’ factory ship, Nisshin Maru, from refuelling.

    The Bob Barker holds their ground, but the Nisshin Maru moves in, pinching the Bob Barker between itself and the fuel tanker Sun Laurel while blasting the bridge windows with high-powered water cannons. The bow wake from the two larger ships causes the smaller one to lose steerage, and the ensuing turbulence throws the Bob Barker off course. The Bob Barker gets helplessly tossed side to side between the two larger ships.

    This video clearly shows the fault of the collision on the Nisshin Maru. According to COLREGS, the Bob Barker had the right of way, and the Nisshin Maru had no right to move closer to the Bob Barker.

    However, a user of Reddit.com who is familiar with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs) wrote the following:

    The Bob Barker is very much in the wrong in this situation. These two vessels are undergoing an operation known as “underway replenishment”. Vessels engaged in this operation become “restricted in their ability to manoeuvre (RAM)”. I am unable to see from the video whether or not she is displaying her day shapes to indicate so, but either way the Nisshin Maru has properly warned the Bob Barker to keep clear. As the Nisshin Maru is RAM, the Bob Barker, which is under “power-driven vessel” status must avoid a vessel RAM. COLREGs Rule 18 (a)(ii)

    The second mistake is the attempt to overtake these two ships so close. This is a direct violation of COLREGs Rule 13 (d) which governs overtaking. “Any subsequent alteration of the bearing between the two vessels shall not make the overtaking vessel a crossing vessel within the meaning of these Rules or relieve her of the duty of keeping clear of the overtaken vessel until she is finally past and clear.” Because of the fact that the Bob Barker is within 22.5 degrees abaft (behind) the beam (line in the middle from side to side) of both vessels, she is to keep well clear and safely overtake the vessels on either the port or starboard sides.

    Any remotely competent mariner would not find themselves in this position. a smaller vessel like the Bob Barker should not have much difficulty avoiding this even near the start of this video. The Bob Barker should have used astern propulsion to remove herself from the middle of these two vessels.

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