A JAPANESE whaling vessel is in distress in the Southern Ocean following a skirmish with conservation activists.
Both sides traded accusations following Friday's incident about 3700km south-east of New Zealand in the Ross Sea.
Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research says its harpoon vessel, Yushin Maru 3 (YS3), was attacked by the Gojira and the Bob Barker from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
The Sea Shepherd fleet and their zodiac boats deployed wire ropes known as "propeller foulers" which disabled the YS3 about 11.10am (AEDT), the Institute said.
The Society did not claim responsibility for any disabling and said it was the YS3 that was chasing them and turned into the Gojira in an attempt ram the vessel.
"We just narrowly avoided being cut in half," Captain Locky MacLean of the Gojira said on the Society's website.
One of the fleet's small craft was showered
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