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Politics

Jan 13, 2006

Greenpeace arguments lost at sea?

Get ready to hear more and more about Dr Eric Wilson from Monash University. Japan has accused Greenpeace of ramming a whaling ship in the Southern Ocean and then selectiv

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Get ready to hear more and more about Dr Eric Wilson from Monash University.

Japan has accused Greenpeace of ramming a whaling ship in the Southern
Ocean and then selectively editing video coverage of the collision for
the world’s media – and Wilson has had some interesting comments to say in the New Zealand Herald:

Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research director-general
Hiroshi Hatanaka said video taken from the Nisshin Maru showed the
Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise could have avoided the collision on
Sunday but instead turned hard to port.

“The skipper turned the boat into the path of the Nisshin Maru and
rammed us at our weakest point,” he said. “It was a deliberate action
to get media coverage.”

However, Australian maritime law expert Dr Eric Wilson, of Monash
University, Melbourne, said the Arctic Sunrise was set up for the
collision by the clever skipper of the Nisshin Maru. “By executing a
360-degree turn at exactly the moment he did, he created a situation
where the Greenpeace vessel could not but strike the Japanese vessel.

“But at the same time, it was Greenpeace who rammed the Nisshin Maru
and not the Nisshin Maru which rammed the Greenpeace vessel.

“The skipper artificially set up the obstacle so it was the Greenpeace
vessel which physically collided with the Nisshin Maru … physically,
materially, Greenpeace executed the ramming action.”

Is that really the argument, though? Surely the issue here is whether
the initial claim – that the Japanese vessel was rammed – is correct.

Perhaps Greenpeace have a theory of core and non-core rammings.

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