Research whaling fleet leaves port

Kyodo

A Japanese whaling ship and two other vessels left Shimonoseki on Friday morning to hunt whales for scientific research in the Antarctic Sea.

The fleet will join the mother vessel Nisshin Maru in hunting up to 935 Antarctic minke whales and up to 50 fin whales through March to study their ecological systems.

The Fisheries Agency said the flotilla includes the patrol ship Shonan Maru No. 2 and a special ship to fend off the obstructionist antics of U.S. antiwhaling group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Coast guardsmen will join the fleet.