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Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

FILE - Japanese whaling ship Yushin Maru No. 2 sails in the Southern Ocean off Antarctica.
FILE - Japanese whaling ship Yushin Maru No. 2 sails in the Southern Ocean off Antarctica.

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers have been found in contempt of court for continuing their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt in the waters off Antarctica.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals based in the western city of San Francisco has ordered a commissioner to determine how much the U.S.-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Canadian founder Paul Watson owe for defying a court order to stop their dangerous anti-whaling protests.

The whalers are demanding $2 million in addition to their attorney fees and damage to their ships in clashes with Sea Shepherd.

The international environmental organization said in a statement that it is disappointed with the ruling and is considering its legal options, including the possibility of an appeal.

The U.S.-based group regularly sends small boats to harass the Japanese fleet during its annual whale hunt. It is known to use stink bombs, dye markers, laser beams and other objects to attempt to disrupt the Japanese whalers.

Commercial whaling has been banned since 1986 under an international treaty, but Japan continues to hunt using a loophole that allows whaling in the name of science, a practice condemned by environmentalists and anti-whaling nations.

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