Japanese whaling ships are currently heading to New Zealand and Australia waters. According to Sea Shepherd Australia, Yushin Maru No. 3, a Japanese ship, is on its course and expected to reach the waters of the Australian Whale Sanctuary on Feb. 8. It the same harpoon ship responsible for reportedly hitting The Bob Barker, one of the Sea Shepherd ships.
The Shanan Maru No.2, a Japanese government security ship, sails for New Zealand. It is currently following The Steve Irwin, another Sea Shepherd ship. The Japanese security vessel was accused of sinking the New Zealand ship Ady Gil in 2010. It will also reach New Zealand on Feb. 8.
On Jan. 10, the Yushin Maru No. 3 stopped outside of Australian waters after the Sea Shepherd launched a formal protest to Australia's Environment Minister Greg Hunt. The anti-whaling organization has requested Hunt to intervene in the Japanese ship's whaling activities.
Once the Japanese ship enters the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone, it might have to face the risk of getting into contempt proceedings due to its continued violation of the ruling made by the 2008 Australian Federal Court. The court has previously ruled the Japanese whaling fleet violates the Australian Federal Law.
New Zealand supported Australia in June 2013 to challenge the legality of Japan's whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in the International Court of Justice. Murray McCully, New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs, released a statement on Jan. 6 and condemned the so-called "scientific whaling" in the Southern Ocean. The government of New Zealand has continuously appealed to Japan to stop its whaling activities.
A video of the collision between the anti-whaling ship Sea Shepherd and a Japanese harpoon vessel has been released to the public. Both the Sea Shepherd and the Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research have released footage with statements that the other did it intentionally.
A shipping expert watched the video of the collision and concluded that the encounter was "probably unintentional."
Marine Risk Consultant John Riding analyzed both videos and declared the collision was not intentional. Riding, based in Wellington, said the videos showed a classic example of "interaction."