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Japanese whalers ask Seattle judge to stop activists

Dec 27, 2011

The Japanese whaling ship Yushin Maru No. 3 approaches the Sea Shepherd's high-speed trimaran during an encounter earlier this year in Southern Ocean, Antarctica. (AP Photo/Sea Shepherd, Simon Ager, File)

SEATTLE (AP) - Japanese whalers have asked a U.S. federal court judge in Seattle to order the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to stop disrupting its whaling activities in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica.

The Tokyo-based Institute of Cetacean Research and others are seeking a U.S. court order to prevent the anti-whaling Sea Shepherd and its founder from engaging in activities at sea that could harm the crew and damage its vessels.

A federal judge has set Feb. 16 to hear a motion for a preliminary injunction.

Sea Shepherd, based in Washington state, dismissed the lawsuit as frivolous. Paul Watson says the group is undeterred in trying to stop the hunt Japan says is a scientific exemption from an international moratorium on commercial whaling.

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