Japan’s whaling vessels, environmentalist group trade ambush claims

TOKYO, Feb. 24 (PNA/Xinhua) — Japanese whaling vessels and environmentalist group Sea Shepherd on Monday traded accusations of attack over a collision in the Antarctic Sea.

Japanese whaling vessels, collided with anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and no injuries were resulted from the conflict, said the Japanese government on Monday.

Sea Shepherd’s two small boats deployed from the group’s ship tried to interrupt the work of two Japanese whaling vessels on Sunday night when their crew members threw ropes to ensnare their propellers, said Japan’s Kyodo News, citing the country’s fisheries agency.

The damage sustained by the Japanese ships will not affect their operations, the agency said.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Sea Shepherd’s acts were “extremely dangerous” and Japan cannot accept them. Japan asked the Netherlands, where the boats are registered, to “take effective measures” to prevent a recurrence.

However, Sea Shepherd said in a statement that the Japanese ships ambushed its vessel by trailing steel cables in an attempt to disable the conservation boat’s propellers and rudder, according to Kyodo.

Japan’s whaling activities, which it defends as being for research purposes, has drawn international criticism as being a cover for commercial whaling.

The International Whaling Commission placed a zero-catch limit on commercial whaling in 1986. (PNA/Xinhua)