Japanese whaling ship in Antartica on fire

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Japanese whaling ship in Antartica on fire

One of the the Japanese whaling ship's that are being harrassed by the anti whaling group has caught fire and partially abandoned yesterday.

Is it just a conicidence, considering the antiwhaling leader was talking about running his ship up the rear of the crippled factory ship, just days earlier?

The 6000-tonne Nisshin Maru, the mother ship of the Japanese whaling fleet, remains disabled after a fire 100 nautical miles off the coast of Antarctica with about 1000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil on board.

Japanese fishing industry spokesman Glenn Inwood said last night that the fire appeared to have been contained, but the extent of the vessel's damage was still being assessed.

"The fire was some way from where the fuel and oil was stored. Any claims of an environmental disaster are wrong," he said.

Yesterday's incident began when the Nisshin Maru sent out a distress call at 5.15am, reporting a fire on board on the factory floor, which is below the water line. All but 22 of the ship's 148 crew were evacuated to three smaller vessels in the fleet.

One crew member, Kazutaka Makita, 28, is missing.

Maritime New Zealand spokesman Steve Corbett said the remaining crew entered the factory area late yesterday afternoon.

"The visibility was very low, however, and there was no sign of the missing crewman," he said. "Because the smoke was too thick, they've decided to reseal it and leave it until tomorrow morning (today)."

The missing crewman was not believed to have gone overboard.

Despite Inwood's assurances, the Government is becoming increasingly nervous about the potential for an environmental catastrophe as the Nisshin Maru drifts close to sea ice off the coast and a large penguin colony.

More here http://stuff.co.nz/3963477a...

More on the whaling war.

Picture of the factory ship before fire.

nisshin-maru.jpg - 24.79kb
By netchicken: posted on 16-2-2007

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