According to a report from the news agency EFE, yesterday three crewmembers of a Japanese whaling ship suffered injuries from corrosive acid thrown at them by protesters from the anti-whaling group, Sea Shepherd, in the waters off Antarctica. The environmentalist group, which has been dubbed by some a "terrorist organization," has been known to resort to militant tactics before in order to disrupt Japanese whaling vessels, such as lobbing stink-bombs and shining laser beams, but acid may be the most dangerous tool in their arsenal. While Sea Shepherd justifies its tactics as a way help end the practice of whaling, some are wondering if maybe they have gone too far.
Acid Injures Three Crewmembers
According to Glenn Inwood, spokesman for the Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research, three crewmembers of the whaling ship were injured in their eyes and face. Inwood confirmed that the acid was released by a boat from Sea Shepherd.
The protestors have admitted to launching acid at the vessels, but insist that the chemical is non-toxic.
Conflicts Have Been Getting More Intense
Recently, the conflicts between Japanese whalers and Sea Shepherd have been escalating. The environmentalists claim to have been "intentionally rammed" by whalers, and had one of their boats completely destroyed in recent weeks.
In yesterday's skirmish, the activists were relentless in their disruptive tactics--attempting to damage the whaler's engine, shining lasers to blind the crewmembers, throwing stink bombs, before finally setting on the use of acid, according to the report.
Protestors Defending Whales from "Scientific Research"
The Japanese claim that they are able to hunt a certain number of whales for "scientific purposes" and that the activists' behavior is criminal.
Sea Shepherd, on the other hand, doesn't believe that whales are being hunted for any justifiable reason, and will continue to work to protect the species being threatened by the whaling vessels. According to the organization:
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society operates outside the petty cultural chauvinism of the human species. Our clients are whales, dolphins, seals, turtles, sea-birds and fish. We represent their interests.
More on Sea Shepherd vs. Whalers
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Sea Shepherd Scores One for the Whales, Gets Terrorist Status
Sea Shepherd's Bob Barker Collides With Japanese Whaler (Video)
Sea Shepherd's Ady Gil Sinks, After Bow Cut Off by Japanese Whaling Ship