Activists dodge Japan whaling fleet after skirmish
Sydney: Militant anti-whaling activists said they were dodging a Japanese surveillance ship in icebergs near Antarctica Wednesday, following their first skirmish with whalers for the season.
Paul Watson, who is leading a campaign to harass the annual whaling hunt, said a heavily-barbed and armed ship loaded with Japanese security guards had been tailing them since they left Western Australia on December 7.
When they attempted to approach the ship, Shonan Maru No.2, from behind an iceberg on Monday, Watson said the Japanese opened fire with two water cannon and tailed them in a two-hour high-speed pursuit.
"We had our water cannons at ready but we never opened up on them," Watson told, speaking via satellite phone from Antarctic waters.
"This is the first time that the Japanese have sent down security forces. As long as they`re following us they can relay our position to the whaling fleet so they can move if we`re approaching them."
Watson said the Shonan Maru No.2 was still tailing them Wednesday, but "we`re going to try and lose them in the ice pack down here off the coast."
"They said if we try to block the operations they`ll put their ship between us and the harpoon vessels, which will most likely result in collisions," Watson said.
"But we`re not going to back down, we`re there to block their operations and we`re not going to back down because they try to force us out of the way."
Despite the beefed-up security, Watson said he was confident of disrupting the hunt for a sixth year, saying activists had a futuristic powerboat which would be able to outrun the ships and block their harpoons.
"It`ll be our interceptor vessel, I think it will make a big difference," he said.
Japan`s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama this week asked visiting Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd to rein in the Sea Shepherd activists, describing their actions as "sabotage".
Hatoyama also dismissed threats from Rudd that he would haul Japan before the International Court of Justice or the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, saying his country`s activities were legal.
An international moratorium on commercial whaling was imposed in 1986 but Japan kills hundreds each year using a loophole that allows "lethal research" on the ocean giants.
Japan makes no secret that the meat ends up on dinner tables, and accuses Western nations of not respecting its culture.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Exclusive: Chat with 'Jazbaa' stars Aishwarya Rai and Irrfan Khan!
- Delhi government to add environment tax in electricity bill
- AAP govt suggests four-fold hike in MLAs salaries
- DNA: Indian Army's 'Phantom Guns’ to defend border with Pakistan
- Shaheed Express train's freight coach catches fire on Ludhiana railway station
- India vs South Africa 2015: 3rd T20I - Preview
- Modi govt turns down IAF's request for more foreign fighter planes, pushes for Made-in-India Tejas
- Indrani Mukerjea back in jail; claims did not take pills, was upset because of mother's death
- Unbelievable! Crops destroyed for Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's rally in Karnataka
- Asaduddin Owaisi's brother Akbaruddin in trouble over poll speech, arrest warrant issued