Whale meat ship skips port after outrage

TOKYO - A ship carrying 2,000 tonnes of fin whale meat skipped the port of Durban after South Africans called on government to deny it entry, Greenpeace said.

The cargo ship Alma was sailing from Iceland en-route to Japan, and wanted to refuel halfway in Durban.

"In three days over 21,000 South Africans joined Greenpeace in its request to the port authorities to deny entrance and service to the Alma," he said.

"Greenpeace is calling on the South African government to add pressure to other African ports to continue to deny services to the Alma when it reaches their shores."

He said trade of endangered species is being met with international moral rejection.

"Whale meat -- just like rhino horn -- is illegal in South Africa. The shipping company underestimated South African citizens' commitment to abolish the trade of illegal and endangered species and wildlife," said Onyeka.

"Now, the vessel has left South African waters without the possibility to refuel. It is up to other port states on the route...to continue to deny it access.”

Meanwhile, Japan on Monday insisted it had made no decision on whether to resume whaling in the Southern Ocean next year, after a militant environmental group said Tokyo intended to evade an international court ruling.

Tokyo this month said it was "deeply disappointed" that the UN's top court declared the annual Antarctic whaling hunt was a commercial activity disguised as science, but was calling the 2014-15 hunt off.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, whose vessels have repeatedly clashed with Japanese whaling ships in the southern seas, said at the weekend Japan was redesigning its programme to get around the court ruling.

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