Souther Ocean whaling ‘skirmish’ continues

A Greenpeace activist was dragged into the sea by a Japanese whaler’s harpoon line late Saturday, the group says. The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise has been chasing the Japanese whaling fleet in tandem with the Sea Shepherd vessel Farley Mowat to prevent the Japanese whalers from killing whales in the Antarctic Sanctuary.

At 6 pm local time, three activists in a Greenpeace inflatable were defending a minke whale from the harpoonist on the Yushin Maru No2 when a harpoon was shot over the heads of the activists. It struck and killed the whale almost instantly as the grenade tipped harpoon exploded. But the harpoon line got stuck on the steering controls of the inflatable, trapping the boat between the dead whale and the catcher ship.

As the harpoon line tightened, the boat’s driver, Canadian activist Texas Joe Constantine was thrown overboard. Dressed in a survival suit, Constantine drifted in the icy waters red with the blood of the minke whale for several minutes. As the inflatable turned around, it was able to collect Constantine.

“We were out defending the whales. We have been out there for about an hour. I was driving our boat and we were in a good position and the whaler fired its harpoon,