Seal hunt protesters, coast guard clash

March 31, 2008 at 3:56 PM
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HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, March 31 (UPI) -- A seal hunt protesters' ship and a Canadian coast guard vessel bumped one another twice Monday off Nova Scotia but each disputes who hit whom.

The Web site for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said the coast guard's much larger icebreaking ship twice ran into its ship, the Farley Mowat, about 35 miles north of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

The site said the group wasn't disrupting the annual seal hunt, which began Friday, but rather documenting it.

However, quoted Federal Fisheries Department spokesman Phil Jenkins as denying the group's allegations.

"We reject these claims by this conservation group, they are totally false," Jenkins said. "The Farley Mowat is the vessel that struck the government coast guard Icebreaker Des Groseilliers, and it merely brushed up against our vessel."

Meanwhile, three investigations into the Coast Guard were under way Monday into a weekend incident that killed three seal hunters and left another missing and presumed dead.

A coast guard ship was towing the Quebec hunters' disabled boat through ice Saturday, and it overturned. Two men were rescued from the water.

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