first_imgWELLINGTON, New Zealand – Two activists attacked a Japanese whaling ship with a bottle of acid and a smoke bomb Friday, slightly injuring two crew members after the vessel helped rescue the protesters from the icy Ross Sea off Antarctica, officials said. The activists from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society protest ship Farley Mowat disappeared during a confrontation with the Nisshin Maru but were found after about seven hours, with members of the Japanese whaling expedition assisting. John Gravois of Los Angeles and Karl Neilsen of Perth, Australia, were picked up in good condition from their Zodiac dinghy after its fiberglass hull had cracked, skipper Paul Watson told The Associated Press by telephone. The pair had been wearing survival suits and were carrying a GPS navigation system. “They hunkered down, kept hydrated and waited to be found,” said Sea Shepherd’s international director, Jonny Vasic. The pair had last been seen near the Japanese vessel after protesters in three Zodiacs confronted the whalers and caused them to abandon a chase for a pod of whales. Watson said the two activists had gotten lost after fog, mist and drizzle blanketed the area. The Nisshin Maru responded to call for help from the Sea Shepherd and joined in the search, Watson said. Glen Inwood, a spokesman for Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research, said the Japanese whaling ships had turned back toward the protest vessels to help find the missing crew. Watson said that when he thanked the crew of the Nisshin Maru for their help, “they were very professional. They just said they’d wait for us” to resume the protest. “I said, `I guess we’re back on schedule, and we’ll be pursuing you again,”‘ Watson said. The protesters then again began their chase of the Japanese vessel and dumped foul-smelling butyric acid onto the whaling ship’s deck, injuring two Japanese crew members, according to Takahide Naruko, the chief of the Far Seas Fisheries Division of Japan’s Fisheries Agency. They suffered facial injuries when the bottle of acid smashed on deck, sending shards of glass flying, he said. One crewman was hit by an empty container of acid and the other had acid squirted in his eye, he said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img