SYDNEY Jan 8 Three Australian environmental
activists boarded a Japanese whaling vessel on Sunday to protest
against Japan's annual whale cull in the Antarctic, anti-whaling
group Sea Shepherd said in a statement.
The three activists from the Australian group Forest Rescue
boarded the ship early on Sunday with assistance from Sea
Shepherd Conservation Society, whose ships are trying to tail
the Japanese whaling fleet as it heads towards the Southern
The activists had not been returned and were "prisoners now
detained on a Japanese whaler", Sea Shepherd said.
Forest Rescue is an environmental group which specialises in
direct action, usually to prevent the logging of forests.
A group spokesman, Michael Montgomery, confirmed the
incident and said the action was to demand the departure of the
Japanese whalers from Australian waters.
"We don't need to kill these beautiful creatures any more,"
he told Reuters.
Sea Shepherd said the activists came from shore in a boat,
which approached the vessel Shonan Maru 2 in the dark, with
assistance from two Sea Shepherd boats.
"The three negotiated their way past the razor wire and
spikes and over the rails of the Japanese whaling vessel," the
group said in its statement.
"They are being held in Australian territorial waters by an
invading Japanese vessel containing armed Japanese military
They carried with them a message reading: "Return us to
shore in Australia and then remove yourself from our waters."
Whaling was banned under a 1986 moratorium, but Japan
continues to hunt hundreds of whales annually under a loophole
that allows whaling for "scientific" purposes.
The Institute of Cetacean Research, the Japanese body that
coordinates the hunt, had no immediate comment on its website
about the latest incident.
(Sydney Newsroom +612 6273 2730)
(Editing by Robert Birsel)