TOKYO -- Greenpeace activists aboard the Esperanza said they were unable to locate the Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctic waters.
"We have not found them because they are trying to escape from us," said Junichi Sato, Greenpeace's whale project leader in Japan. The activists vowed to hunt the hunters and disrupt the first killing of humpback whales since 1966, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
The Japanese fleet has the right under the International Whaling Commission to harvest 50 humpback whales, 850 minke whales and 50 fin whales for scientific study, but environmental groups and Australia, New Zealand, the United States and European Union claim it is more of a hunt for meat than for science, the Washington Post reported.
Sato claimed the fleet turned off its radio navigation to avoid detection, but government officials denied the charge, the Post said.
Earlier this week in Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack echoed Greenpeace's position.
"We note that non-lethal research techniques are available to provide nearly all relevant data on whale populations," McCormack said.
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