Japanese whaling dates back to at least the 8th century and regained prominence after World War II because of the plentiful bounty provided in a single whale. The practice of whaling was deemed illegal by the international community in 1966, with the exception of a limited quota permitted for science. Greenpeace ships operating off the coast of Antarctica recently chased six Japanese vessels from a whaling site where Japan contends its operation sought to kill 1000 whales for science (935 minke whales and 50 fin whales). Japan’s whaling spokesman declared, "Greenpeace actions are illegal under international law (and) it’s time the public stopped treating Greenpeace as heroes."
Greenpeace’s actions have been described as environmental terrorism before. One splinter group, led by Paul Watson takes pride in having sunk Japanese whalers before using hardened ships like the Farley Mowat designed to ram hulls. As a matter of fact, two individuals from his organization, Sea Shepard, were detained by the Japanese. After they attempted to foul the ship’s propellers with ropes, the men boarded the vessel and threw acid at the crew members whereupon they were captured.
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