An Australian customs ship is steaming on it way to pick up two protesters being held on board a Japanese whaling ship, where they were lashed to a railing, CNN reports. The activists were seized by the ship's crew Tuesday after they boarded to deliver a protest letter saying that the Yushin Maru was violating the law by killing whales. A video has been released showing the protesters bound on the ship.
"They were seized by the crew and assaulted," said the founder of the radical Sea Shepherd anti-whaling group. "They're being held hostage." The whalers say they tried to give the men back. The Australian government has urged restraint during the tense stand-off. A Sea Shepherd ship as well as a vessel operated by Greenpeace have been chasing the whaling fleet to disrupt a planned hunt for 1,000 whales in waters off Antarctica.