Activists and Whalers Clash in Southern Ocean

Militant anti-whalers Saturday said they had clashed with Japanese harpoonists in the Southern Ocean, chasing them through ice packs, throwing stink bombs at them and being hit with water cannon.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s vessels have been seeking to disrupt the Japanese whalers on their annual hunt in Antarctic waters since mid-December but had not been able to sight the Japanese fleet until Friday.

The society’s president, Paul Watson, said that now they had made contact with the whalers, they would attempt to prevent any of the giant sea creatures from being slaughtered.

"It’s got its water cannons turned onto us right now so we’re manoeuvring through ice and trying to outmanoeuvre them so it’s a little dicey," Watson told ABC Radio.

Locky MacLean, the captain of the Sea Shepherd’s ‘Gojira’ vessel, said the society’s three boats had been "dancing dangerously through the ice packs locked in confrontation with the three harpoon ships".

"It was both deadly and beautiful," he said in a statement on the society’s website. "Deadly because of the ice and the hostility of the whalers and beautiful because of the ice, and the fact that these three killer ships are not killing whales while clashing with us."

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