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Report: Japanese whalers turn violent against humans

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Who would ever guess that the harpoon shooting crew members would resort to violence against conservationists?

Two members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society were lightly injured in the early morning fracas in heavy seas about 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) southeast of the Australian state of Tasmania, said Paul Watson, the group's leader.

A spokesman for the whalers said he had no information on the claims.

The group — which routinely harasses the Japanese whaling fleet during its annual hunt in the Antarctic Ocean — sent a helicopter and two inflatable boats toward one of the ships in the Japanese fleet.

The whalers began blasting conservationists on one raft with a water cannon, knocking one man off his feet and leaving him with cuts and bruises, Watson told The Associated Press by satellite phone.

Another protester was hit in the face with a large chunk of metal lobbed from a harpoon boat. He was wearing a shield on his helmet, but still suffered bruises, Watson said.

The Japanese also aimed a "military grade" noise weapon that can cause deafness and vomiting at the Sea Shepherd crew, Watson said. Some felt its vibrations but were too far away to be otherwise affected, he said.

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