Protesters ask whalers for help in missing-persons search

The bone-chilling waters of Antarctica are seeing heated conflict as the U.S.-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society tangles with Japanese whalers. The protesters, upset over a 1,000-whale hunt they deem illegal — but which was OK’d by the International Whaling Commission as a scientific pursuit — have dumped a safe but stench-ridden acid on whaling ship decks, tried to bolt metal plates over holes that release whale blood, and collided with the hunters. Or, in this case, the hunted. “They are threatening people’s lives,” said Hideki Moronuki of the Japan Fisheries Agency. “We strongly protest and request them to stop immediately. Their conduct is that of pirates.” In a proud piratical moment, when a dinghy-riding duo got lost, Sea Shepherd asked their targets to help in the over seven-hour search. The Japanese ship obliged. “It’s nothing we wouldn’t do [for them] as well,” said Sea Shepherd director Johnny Vasic. “It’s a kind of rule of the sea and sailors.” Oh, rules. They’re nice.