PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research, a cover for the illegal slaughter of whales, rammed environmentalists' charter boat, cutting it in two, then attacked them with water cannons, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society claims in court.
Sea Shepherd sued The Institute of Cetacean Research and Kyodo Senpaku Kaisha, in Federal Court.
The so-called Institute of Cetacean Research is the method Japan uses to duck whale-protection laws. It "takes" whales every year, ostensibly for research, but actually to slaughter them for food.
Sea Shepherd claims that the group "engages in an annual slaughter of whales in the Southern Whale Sanctuary, the Australian Whale Sanctuary, and other places throughout the world for commercial purposes."
Defendant Kyodo Senpaku owns the ships used in the annual whale slaughter, and employs the crews, according to the complaint.
Sea Shepherd claims the defendants intentionally rammed their ship, the Ady Gil, on Jan. 6, 2010. Defendants' ship, the Shonan Maru No. 2, sliced the Ady Gil in two, shearing off the crew's sleeping quarters, the complaint states.
People on the Ady Gil had to "scramble for their lives" onto another Sea Shepherd vessel, while the crew of the Shonan Maru "ignored plaintiff's mayday calls and instead shot the crew on board the Ady Gil with high-pressure water cannons," the complaint states. "At least one person on board the Ady Gil was injured."
Sea Shepherd seeks costs and damages of at least $3 million, the cost of the Ady Gil, under admiralty and maritime law.
It is represented by Christine Hein with Wrenn Bender McKown & Ring.
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