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Acid Attack on Whaling Ship

By Carolyn E. Price     Feb 9, 2007 in World
A global moratorium on commercial whaling has exsited since 1986, but Japan kills hundreds of whales every year under a 'scientific' whaling program.
Japan expressed outrage after anti-whaling activists tossed acid onto the decks of a whaling ship in the Southern Ocean. Two crew members were slightly injured in the attack. Japan has called the anti-whaling activists "piratical, terrorist acts".
"These are completely piratical, dangerous acts," said Hideki Moronuki, a senior official at Japan's Fisheries Agency. "They are also very dangerous, and we want them to stop this immediately."
After they lobbed the acid at the ship, two protesters from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an environmental group that chases Japanese whalers, tied their boat to an iceberg for protection from icy winds. Their inflatable had been damaged while they were trying to mess with the propeller of the whaler.
The Japanese whaling boat, the Nisshin Maru, joined the search for the men, who were rescued safely eight hours later.
Sea Shepherd has reported on its website that it had "successfully delivered" six litres of butyric acid to the ship's flensing deck, where whales are cut up, stopping the crew's work. Two Japanese crewmen were injured, one when he was hit in the face by an empty container of acid and the other when acid was squirted into one of his eyes.
Sea Shepherd says that butyric acid was non-toxic. It is a corrosive chemical and contact can cause severe irritation and burns of the eyes and skin, that can lead to permanent damage.
Moronuki said one of the crewmen was having difficulty opening his eye and the full extent of his injuries have yet to be determined. Neither crewman appears to be seriously hurt.
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