Environmental group Greenpeace said on Saturday its anti-whaling ship, which has been harassing Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean, had saved an estimated 100 whales but was running low on fuel and would return to port.
"In a dramatic 4,300-nautical mile chase, the Esperanza spent 14 days
chasing the whaling fleet's factory ship, the Nisshin Maru," Greenpeace
said in a statement.
"Without the factory ship, the remaining hunter vessels have been unable to operate -- bringing the entire whaling programme to a halt," it said.
Japan's six-ship whaling fleet has been trying to avoid anti-whaling protest ships in the Southern Ocean after protesters stopped whaling operations when two activists boarded a whaling ship and another group stopped a whaling ship from refuelling.
The militant Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which boarded the Japanese ship, has threatened to find the whalers and again stop them hunting. Greenpeace, which prevented the factory ship from refuelling, has been trailing the fleet.
Japanese whaling officials have said they plan to try to exhaust the fuel supplies of the anti-whaling ships before they resume whaling.
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