January 13, 2006 | Graham

Marine lawyer concurs – Nisshin Maru was rammed

An article in the New Zealand Herald was brought to my attention by a Greenpeace supporter who claimed:

The evidence does not show that Greenpeace is to blame in fact when the evidence was reviewed by a marine law expert from Monash University he said the whalers were to blame. Here’s the article about it:

This is typical of the half-truths or wishful thinking being pushed around the ‘net on the issue.
What Dr Eric Wilson is actually quoted as saying is that the Japanese “set-up” the situation, so that “the Greenpeace vessel could not but strike the Japanese vessel.” They might have. That’s not the issue. The issue is whether the Japanese rammed Greenpeace, or whether it was the other way around, and whether that simple fact has been misrepresented by Greenpeace and the misrepresentation uncritically accepted by many journalists. The right of way issue is simply a red-herring in terms of the accuracy of the reporting.
Dr Wilson is quoted with something relevant to say on that issue.

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.

So, the truth is starting to surface. What will Greenpeace do? At this moment, perhaps they are dreaming up their own version of core and non-core events.

Posted by Graham at 6:59 am | Comments (4) |
Filed under: Environment


  1. Does little boat ramming big boat make any sense? No.
    So it can easily be construed the Japanese were at fault.
    If little boat did ram big boat then it must have been to destroy little boat so the Japanese had no choice but to pick them up (save them) and then they could cause trouble on board.

    Comment by Vee — January 13, 2006 @ 9:28 am

  2. The fact that the Greenpeace vessel actually hit the whaling ship is only part of the story, but does seem to have become the focus of discussion.
    In early television coverage of ‘the certain marine incident’, a Greenpeace spokesperson described how it was – and also why – that the Greenpeace vessel did not evade hitting the whaling ship.
    The Greenpeace vessel *did* ram the Japanese ship. However, the *but* is not immaterial – but, the Japanese vessel may well have breached the Law of the Sea to engineer the event.
    This whole event highlights not only piecemeal or partisan reporting, but the limitations of public debate at the moment. So much focus on who rammed whom – but little by way of discussing how and why. The *why* is crucial.
    It is the *why* that journalism is supposed to direct our attention towards.
    Whatever the merits of either side’s case, it is the why that should be informing our public discussion of those merits – and the actions taken to further those positions.

    Comment by maelorin — January 13, 2006 @ 12:36 pm

  3. Vee
    A little ice breaker versus a big boat doesn’t make sense until one realises the Arctic Sunrise is a ice breaker.
    Personally I do have a problem with whaling – scientific or otherwise – but at the same time I do not condone the type of tactics employed by Greenpeace. The video seems pretty clear to me.

    Comment by MJL — January 13, 2006 @ 3:51 pm

  4. If the focus is on whether Greenpeace rammed the Japanese or not it is because Greenpeace caused this to happen.
    If they had said “We rammed the ship, but we didn’t mean to. They put us in a position where we didn’t have any alternatives,” they would have avoided the scrutiny.
    Instead they claimed that the Japanese were trying to “t-bone them” and implied that the Japanese had hit them with their bow.
    Greenpeace having over-played its hand can’t complain if its honesty becomes the issue rather than the rights and wrongs of whaling. Part of my criticism is that Greenpeace’s media management is incompetent. Unless, of course, they are trying to create controversy and don’t care how.

    Comment by Graham Young — January 13, 2006 @ 8:46 pm

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