Activists Rescued Off Antarctica

Two activists harassing a Japanese whaling boat off Anarctica were lost for seven hours in bad weather Friday before being rescued with the Japanese vessel's help, according to colleagues.

The Japanese crew helped search for the pair, who were trying to disrupt the whale hunt when they got lost in extreme fog in their inflatable boat, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said.

"We called them and thanked them for that but said we are still planning on following (them)," said the group's international director Jonny Vasic.

Japanese whaling ship the Nisshin Maru (R) from the deck of the anti-whaling activists ship the Robert Hunter.

"It's kind of the rule of the sea and we would do the same," he told AFP. "We are not out to hurt anybody and neither are they."

The pair, an Australian and a US national, were ultimately found by the crew of their own vessel, the "Farley Mowat".

The activists had been tailing the "Nisshin Maru", which is part of an expedition to kill hundreds of whales during the Southern Hemisphere's summer season.

The activist vessels had spent weeks in freezing Antarctic waters desperately trying to find the Japanese fleet, and last month a 25,000 dollar reward was offered for help in tracking the whalers down.

The society has threatened to disrupt whaling activities by punching holes in the whaling vessels to force them back to port.

The International Whaling Commission imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986 but Japan has continued hunting for what it calls scientific research.

Vasic said the lost pair were in fine health.

"They are no worse for wear -- their training kicked in and they did what they were supposed to do, which was to stay warm and to stay hydrated," he said.

Source AFP

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