The Independent. 1 January 2011.
Japanese whalers and activists clash off Antarctica
Kristen Gelineau, Associated Press
Japanese whalers shot water cannons at anti-whaling
today, the conservationist group's founder claimed, hours
after the activists tracked down the hunting fleet in the remote and icy
seas off Antarctica.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is chasing
the fleet in the hopes of interrupting Japan's annual whale hunt, which
kills up to 1,000 whales a year. The two sides have clashed violently in
the past, including last year, when a Sea Shepherd boat was sunk after
its bow was sheared off in a collision with a whaling ship.
Saturday, Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson was talking to The Associated
Press by telephone from his ship when he said the whalers suddenly began
blasting one of his group's inflatable boats with a water cannon.
"They just turned their cannons on our Zodiac," Watson told The AP.
"Right at this moment."
New Zealand-based Glenn Inwood, spokesman for
Japan's Tokyo-based Institute of Cetacean Research, which sponsors the
whale hunt, said he had no comment. Every year, Japan and Sea Shepherd
make claims of aggression against each other, but the accounts are
generally impossible to verify. Their skirmishes take place in an
extremely remote part of the ocean off Antarctica.
are allowed to harvest a quota of whales under a ruling by the
International Whaling Commission, as long as the mammals are caught for
research and not commercial purposes. Whale meat not used for study is
sold for consumption in Japan, which critics say is the real reason for
the hunts. Each hunting season runs from about December through February.
Japan's whaling fleet set out for Antarctic waters in December. Sea
Shepherd has been searching for them since, and spotted the first whaling
vessel yesterday, Watson said. By today, the group had tracked down three
of the fleet's ships in an area about 1,700 nautical miles southeast of
New Zealand, he said.
"We got them before they started whaling and
now that we're on them, we're hoping to make sure they don't kill any
whales for this season," Watson said.
Japanese whaling fleet fires on activist ship
1st January, 2011
Activist ships are doing battle with a Japanese whaling fleet in the
Southern Ocean, 1,700 nautical miles southeast of New Zealand.
vessels belonging to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society have held the
Japanese vessels, including harpoon vessels the Yushin Maru, Yushin Maru 2,
and the Yushin Maru 3 at bay. Clashes between the warring factions has
prevented the Japanese sailors from pursuing whales. "What an awesome way to
begin the New Year," captain of the Gojira Locky MacLean of Canada said
"Our three vessels dancing dangerously through the ice
packs locked in confrontation with the three harpoon ships of the Japanese
whaling fleet. It was both deadly and beautiful. Deadly because of the ice
and the hostility of the whalers and beautiful because of the ice, and the
fact that these three killer ships are not killing whales while clashing
The three Japanese harpoon vessels attempted to block Sea
Shepherd's vessels including the Steve Irwin, Bob Barker, and Gojira from
the pursuit of the Nisshin Maru factory ship. The Japanese fired water
cannons at the activist vessels....