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SEA WARS; Japanese whale slaughter vessels use violence in ocean fight against activists trying to save mammals.

Byline: james ward

JAPANESE hunters who slaughtered four whales earlier this week have turned violent against the activists trying to stop them.

Sea Shepherd, the organisation which chased the hunters from the Antarctic sanctuary, claims the whalers have become "aggressive and violent".

Director of Sea Shepherd Ireland Sue Anthony told the Irish Mirror whaling vessels had recently tailed their ships into a protected zone in Australia.

The whale harpoon ship the Yushi Maru No3 was trailing the activist boat the Bob Barker, but stopped one mile short of entering Australian waters.

Australian Environmental Minister Greg Hunt contacted Japanese authorities over the impending invasion of the Australian whale sanctuary, forcing them to end their pursuit.

But Sue claimed the Nisshin Maru, involved in the slaughter of whales in the Antarctic sanctuary on Monday, had rammed activist boats in the Great Southern Ocean.

The Nisshin Maru is the main factory ship which captures and slaughters the sea creatures, making them into what Sue describes as "meal size portions".

She added whalers and activists have become embroiled in an annual battle in recent years as the Japanese ships return to hunt every whaling season.

Sue said: "This happens annually.

They go down every year and they try to kill up to 1,000 whales.

"Every year we're there trying to stop them. Last year we were extremely successful."

Last year, whaling ships pinned Sea Shepherd's vessel the MV Bob Barker between two much larger ships, blasting them with water cannons and raining flash bang grenades on their deck. At the time one of the whaling vessels was refuelling, creating a fire hazard for the activists on the Bob Barker.

Sue said such aggression between the two parties has only developed in recent years. She added: "At one point, three or four years ago, they would see us and run. They actually left and went back to Japan.

"Then after that they came back and they've become extremely aggressive. They've actually sank one of our ships. They retaliate very violently by trying to ram us." Sea Shepherd, which features in the Animal Planet series Whale Wars, employs its own methods to try and stop the vicious killing of the whales.

Sue said: "You will see that we throw stink bombs at them. They're referred to as all sorts of things by the opposition, as acid and what have you. It's actually boracic acid, which is less acidic than an orange.

"But it stinks horrendously and if we can get that on their decks it keeps them from working and it taints the whale meat as well. We also put ropes underneath the vessels which hopefully will entangle their propellers."

Sue added the activists would prefer not to be embroiled in such battles but as the only organisation that actively stands up to the whalers, they have little choice. She said: "So long as there are whales in danger we will be there to give them their voice."

Two Irishmen serve as crew members for Sea Shepherd.

Helicopter mechanic John Naylor works on board the MV Steve Irwin.

Adam Taylor, from the North, has served as communications officer on board the MV Bob Barker since 2009.

Sea Shepherd estimates it has saved over 3,000 whales since its operations began in earnest in 2006.

news@irishmirror.ie

As long as there are whales in danger we will be there SUE ANTHONY SEA SHEPERD IRELAND CHIEF

CAPTION(S):

horror Blood on deck of the Nisshin Maru

dedicated Sea Shepherd Ireland director Sue Anthony

dangers Ocean batters a Sea Shepherd vessel

battle ships Nisshin Maru attacking activist boat the Bob Barker
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 11, 2014
Words:604
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