Three crew members of a Japanese whaling vessel suffered face and eye injuries from acid fired by anti-whaling protesters during their latest clash in the Antarctic Ocean, their employers said today. The Sea Shepherd protesters said they shot butyric acid—which they maintain is nontoxic—produced from stinking rancid butter, which they often aim at the whalers to try to disrupt the annual Japanese hunt.
Yesterday's injuries were the first to Japanese whalers this year during confrontations with Sea Shepherd, although there have been two ship collisions that each side blamed on the other. A rep for the hunt's Japanese sponsor said the injuries, which occurred during a several-hour confrontation between two Sea Shepherd boats and four Japanese vessels, were not serious, but he cautioned that butyric acid can cause temporary blindness. (Read more anti-whaling activists stories.)