Japanese Fire On Sea Shepherd Crew – Three Injured
Steve Irwin Captain Shot
Cameraman and Crewmember Injured by Flash Grenade
At 1545 ( 0445 G.M.T.)a clash between the crew of the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin and the Japanese whaling ship Nishiin Maru turned violent when Japanese Coast Guard threw flash grenades at the crew of the Steve Irwin.
Captain Paul Watson was struck by a bullet in the chest which fortunately was stopped by his Kevlar vest. The bullet struck just above the heart and mangled Captain Watson’s anti-poaching badge on his sweater underneath. Doctor David Page pried the bullet from the vest.
Doctor David Page was videotaped prying the bullet from Captain Watson’s Kevlar vest. “You have been hit by a bullet,” he said.
The kevlar vest and badge effectively saved Captain’s Watson life.
Ashley Dunn 35, from Launceston, Tasmania suffered a hip injury when he tried to get out of the way of the exploding grenades.
Ralph Lowe 33, from Melbourne, Australia received bruises to his back when one of the flash grenades exploded behind him.
The Japanese were retaliating against the Sea Shepherd crew for tossing rotten butter on the decks to discourage whaling activities. The clash came after a weeklong pursuit by the Steve Irwin of the Nisshin Maru, in an effort to stop illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Earlier in the day at 0800 Hours (1900 G.M.T.) the Steve Irwin had ordered the Nisshin Maru to leave French Territorial waters. The Japanese whaler complied and turned around and headed back west into Australian waters.
The confrontation occurred inside the Australian Territorial Zone at the position of 63 Degrees, 41 Minutes South and 133 Degrees 27 Minutes East.
Video and photos of the incident are being transmitted to Sea Shepherd’s head office.