Judge Bans Japanese Whalers in Aussie Waters

Eco-warriors 'kidnapped,' tied to ship's mast
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2008 10:35 AM CST
In this photo released by Greenpeace, the Japanese whaling vessel Nisshin Maru is seen from the Greenpeace ship Esperanza in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica Sunday, Jan. 13, 2008. The Esperanza drove...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – An Australian judge has banned hunting by Japanese whalers in a large section of their traditional grounds in Australian-claimed waters off Antarctica. The ruling came today just hours after crew members of a militant eco-ship boarded a Japanese whaling vessel in the Southern Ocean to deliver a protest note—then were "kidnapped" by the whalers and tied to a mast, the AP reports.

The Australian injunction will be difficult to enforce, though the government has sent a ship to record evidence of infractions. Canberra prefers a cooperative approach to stop the Japanese fleet from its "so-called scientific whaling" that is expected to kill 1,000 minke and fin whales, said the nation's environmental minister. Very few countries recognize Antarctic territorial claims, complicating Australia’s position.