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Sea Shepherd encounters shenanigans by Japanese whalers

December 18, 2009 |  7:47 am
The crew of Sea Shepherd's anti-whaling vessel, Steve Irwin, works to secure their helicopter while a Japanese whaling ship readies its water cannons. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society posted an update on its website Thursday stating its flagship vessel, Steve Irwin -- en route to Antarctic waters to try to disrupt the annual whale hunt -- has been followed for most of its 10 days at sea by the Japanese whaling fleet ship Shonan Maru 2.  

When the Steve Irwin sent its helicopter to film the Japanese vessel, the crew of the Shonan Maru 2 activated their Long Range Acoustical Device in an attempt to disorient those on the chopper.

“This was an extremely irresponsible thing to do,” said helicopter pilot Chris Aultman. “That device can cause nausea and disorientation and the use of it against an aircraft is both extremely dangerous and grossly irresponsible.”

While the Sea Shepherd crew was attempting to secure the copter on its return to the ship's landing pad, the Shonan Maru 2 increased speed and aimed their high-powered water cannons in an attempt to destroy the aircraft.

The Sea Shepherd reports that the helicopter and ship are undamaged and the crew is safe.

"The situation is now very dangerous,” said Captain Paul Watson. “We have deliberately led the Japanese ship into thick ice in order to lose them in the ice. The icebergs could easily damage either vessel.”

And so the pursuit, and the drama, continue.

--Kelly Burgess

Photo: The crew of Sea Shepherd's anti-whaling vessel, Steve Irwin, works to secure their helicopter while a Japanese whaling ship readies its water cannons. Credit: Barbara Veiga/Sea Shepherd

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