The New Zealand anti-whaling vessel half-destroyed when it and a Japanese whaling harpoon ship collided is too damaged to be salvaged.

But the crew and Australian counterparts from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society say they will continue to protest against whalers.

A dispute erupted between Japanese whalers and the Kiwi and Australian protesters after the Japanese ship Shonan Maru and the New Zealand trimaran collided in Antarctic waters on Wednesday.

The Ady Gil's hull was severely damaged and crewman Simeon Houtman, of Auckland, received broken ribs.

But the Japanese crew insist it was the Ady Gil that approached its ship and was hit as a result.

Video footage issued by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society shows the Shonan Maru shooting high-pressure hoses at the Ady Gil as it gets closer to it.

Just when it looks as if it will turn, it slams into the trimaran before it drifts off.

Sea Shepherd leader Peter Watson, captain of anti-whaling vessel the Steve Irwin, said video footage clearly showed that the Japanese vessel rammed the Ady Gil.

"The Ady Gil was stationary at the time, they were waiting for the Shonan Maru to pass. And the Shonan Maru turned and rammed into them.

"[But] their argument is [the Ady Gil] suddenly turned and they couldn't avoid them."

Mr Watson said the New Zealand crew were feeling down but were now even more determined to continue protesting.

"It certainly increases our resolve to go after them and to stay out here - we're not going to be put off," he said.

"[The Japanese whalers] deliberately did that to the Ady Gil because they thought that would scare them off. That's not going to happen."

Mr Watson had spoken to the Ady Gil's captain, Aucklander Pete Bethune, who had since joined the crew on the Bob Barker, another anti-whaling vessel chasing the Shonan Maru.

Mr Bethune last night likened the attack to attempted murder.

"[On Wednesday] we could've easily lost someone," he told TVNZ's One News, his voice breaking.

Meanwhile, an investigation into the incident will be carried out by Maritime NZ, since the Ady Gil is a New Zealand vessel.

Government officials from New Zealand and Japan will meet to discuss the incident and the ongoing battle between the protesters and the whalers.

TROUBLED WATERS
What Sea Shepherd says:
The Ady Gil was stationary and the Shonan Maru headed straight towards it before ramming it, breaking off its hull.

What Shonan Maru says:
Its ship was going to pass it, but as it neared, the Ady Gil suddenly turned and there was no way the Shonan Maru could avoid it.