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U.S. Judge Calls Sea Shepherd Conservation Group "Pirates"

The circuit court of appeal ruling also orders the group to stop its aggression against Japanese whaling ships.

U.S. Judge Calls Sea Shepherd Conservation Group "Pirates"

An appeals court judge has declared the Sea Shepherd activists "pirates" and ordered them to stop being so aggressive against Japanese whalers. Chief judge Alex Kozinsky ordered an injunction against the American branch of the anti-whaling group, after a group of Japanese researchers brought a lawsuit against it.

The judge's ruling, which runs 18 pages in length, also criticized another U.S. judge who ruled on the original case between the whaling group and its maritime nemesis, raising doubts about his impartiality.

Sea Shepherd, however, remains bullish. Its spokesman Scott West told the Guardian that the judge's ruling was "only an opinion," and poured ridicule on his description of them as pirates, describing it as "ludicrous."

The organization has split into two following the ruling, with the Australian group going solo, as whaling is currently forbidden in Australian waters.

[Image by Flickr user guano]