Sea Shepherd Activists Confront Japanese Whaling Vessel Nisshin Maru Near
AP NICK PERRY
Posted: 03/ 5/2012 8:38 pm
In this Feb. 6, 2010 file photo released by the Institute of Cetacean
Research of Japan, anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd's ship the Bob Barker,
right, and the Japanese whaling ship No. 3 Yushin Maru collide in the waters
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Anti-whaling activists claimed Tuesday
that they have effectively ended this year's Japanese hunt following a
late-night altercation near Antarctica, but the whalers said their season
The activists said they finally found the main factory
ship after playing cat-and-mouse with the whalers for the past two weeks.
The Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker confronted the whaling ship Nisshin Maru at
midnight Monday about 60 miles (97 kilometers) from the Antarctic coastline.
The activists said they used laser beams and flares to disrupt the ship.
The whalers said they used small vessels and ropes to prevent the Bob Barker
from getting close.
Sea Shepherd President Paul Watson says the
Nisshin Maru will be prevented from further whaling with the Bob Barker
"They won't get more than 30 percent of their quota,"
But the whalers — the Institute for Cetacean Research — say
their season, which typically runs through the end of March, will continue
as planned. Institute spokesman Glenn Inwood said the activists aren't
"Sea Shepherd has shut nothing down," he said.
Japan's whaling fleet has a quota of about 1,000 whales a year. The
International Whaling Commission allows Japan to hunt the whales as long as
they are caught for research and not for commercial purposes. Whale meat not
used for study is sold as food in Japan, which critics say is the real
reason for the hunt.
Watson said the group's primary tactic in the
past was to use its ships to block the slipways on the whaling vessels,
preventing them from loading whales. He said this year, the whaling ships
have tried to sail away — but that has also prevented them from catching
Inwood said the Japanese government would release catch
figures about a month after the season ends.
In a written statement,
the institute condemned what it said were the activists' "violent actions
against the integrity and safety of Japan's whale research vessels and
In February, the Washington state-based Sea Shepherd group
won a legal battle when a federal judge denied a request by the whalers for
a preliminary injunction ordering the activists to stop their ocean