Whaling and protest ships collide in Antarctic waters

Japanese officials are claiming that a Greenpeace ship intentionally hit a whaling ship in the Southern Ocean on Sunday. But crewmembers of the protest vessel say the whaler rammed their smaller ship, and they’ve posted video of the incident on the Greenpeace blog. The collision left a big dent in the activist ship’s hull, damaged a mast, and scared the bejeezus out of the Greenpeacers, who say they practice only nonviolent protest. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, meanwhile, has taken full and unapologetic credit for intentionally sideswiping a whaling supply ship yesterday. Vessels from the two activist groups have been harassing Japanese whaling ships as they hunt for 850 minke and 10 fin whales in the Southern Ocean this season. Japan claims it’s legally hunting the cetaceans for scientific research, but the eco-groups — as well as some countries that are members of the International Whaling Commission — counter it’s really an illegal commercial hunt for whale meat.