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Whaling ship cleared of ramming protest boat

A Japanese whaler did not deliberately ram and sink a Sea Shepherd protest boat during a high-seas confrontation in Antarctic waters early this year, New Zealand investigators found Thursday.

There was no evidence that either the whaler Shonan Maru II or Sea Shepherd's Ady Gil deliberately caused the Jan. 6 collision that sheared the bow off the militant environmental group's high-tech trimaran, Maritime New Zealand said.

Instead, the government agency blamed poor seamanship on both sides for the accident, which occurred as Sea Shepherd boats harassed Japanese harpooners in a campaign to prevent whaling in Antarctic waters.

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