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Environmental activists say Japanese whalers 'rammed' ships in skirmish

Published on Feb 20, 2013 1:53 PM
This handout photo taken on Feb 15, 2013 and received on Feb 18 from Sea Shepherd Australia shows a Minke whale loaded on to the slipway of the Japanese whaling fleet's factory vessel, the Nishin Maru (left), as the Yushin Maru No. 2 (right) looks on in the Southern Ocean. Militant environmentalists on Feb 18, 2013, accused Japanese whalers of attempting to crash into their ship as they tried to prevent harpoonists from hauling a slaughtered whale on board. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which is chasing the Japanese fleet hunting whales off Antarctica, said the confrontation occurred after its Bob Barker vessel attempted to block the transfer of a dead whale. --  FILE PHOTO : AFP

SYDNEY (AFP) - Environmental campaigners from the militant Sea Shepherd group said on Wednesday a Japanese whaling ship "rammed" its vessels in a skirmish in the Southern Ocean.

Sea Shepherd director Bob Brown said the Japanese factory boat Nisshin Maru deliberately collided with boats crewed by anti-whaling campaigners, the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker.

Mr Brown, former leader of Australia's Greens party, said the Japanese boat "repeatedly rammed" the Australian boats, adding that the Japanese also lobbed concussion grenades onto their decks.

"This is grand piracy," he said, adding that the actions of the Japanese breached a number of international and domestic laws.

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