The anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society filed a lawsuit in Oregon court last week in an effort to freeze the U.S. assets of the Institute of Cetacean Research, a Japanese whaling group.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, based in Friday Harbor Wash., sends boats to harass and sabotage Japanese whaling ships near Antarctica.
In 2010 a Japanese vessel ran into a small Sea Shepherd boat called the Ady Gil. Both Sea Shepherd and the ICR released footage of the crash, and each party claims the other was responsible.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary injunction ordering Sea Shepherd to stay at least 500 yards away from the whaling fleet. The Japanese hope to make the order permanent, in a court case first filed in Seattle two years ago.
Susan Hartland with Sea Shepherd, says the group countersued and is seeking $3 million dollars.
“We have sued the ICR for the loss of the Ady Gil, because their ship ran it over and sliced it in half. And we would like them to be accountable for that.”
A spokesman for the Institute for Cetacean Research says the funds Sea Shepherd is seeking to freeze have been set aside to pay legal fees in the ongoing suit, and it would be an unusual precedent for those funds to be garnished.
The confrontation involving the Ady Gil has also provoked a third lawsuit. Ady Gil, the boat’s owner and a one-time patron of Sea Shepherd, has sued the group for breach of contract in a California court. According to other news reports, Gil claims Sea Shepherd chose to sink the Ady Gil instead of salvaging it, in order to benefit from the publicity.
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