The Hague: Greenpeace activists chained themselves to the mooring ropes of a ship in the Netherlands Friday to stop it transporting a cargo of whale meat to Japan, officials and the environmental group said.
Fifteen protesters took the action at 4:30 am (0230 GMT) against a Panamanian-flaggged vessel docked at Rotterdam which was carrying seven containers of meat from Iceland, said Greenpeace organiser Pavel Klinckhamers.
"We will stay here for as long as necessary, until we are sure that the containers carrying the whale meat are not going to leave for Japan," Klinckhamers said.
The group called for the seizure of the "illegal cargo", he said.
The vessel was due to leave Rotterdam for Japan on Friday at 6:00 pm (1600 GMT), said Rotterdam police spokesman Tinet Dejonge.
The protest came on the day that Japan indicted a New Zealand activist who boarded a harpoon ship on charges including trespass and assault, the latest chapter in a long battle between environmentalists and Japanese whalers.
Iceland and Norway are the only two countries in the world that now authorise commercial whaling, while Japan officially allows whaling for scientific purposes, but the meat is then sold to restaurants and supermarkets.