BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 20 December 2007, 16:24 GMT
Guide to the ships
Use the table below to compare the Japanese whaling vessel with the whale campaigners' ships heading to the Antarctic.

Esperanza
Nisshin Maru
Steve Irwin
MV Esperanza Nisshin Maru MV Steve Irwin
ORGANISATION
Greenpeace International Largest of the six Japanese whaling ships Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
ON BOARD
39 people, from 23 countries Whalers and scientists 41 people, led by Paul Watson
LENGTH
72m 130m 53m
SPEED
15 knots 15 knots 16.5 knots
AIM
Non-violent obstruction of Japanese whaling fleet Catch 935 minke, 50 fin and 50 humpback whales for research Undertakes direct action to combat what it says are illegal actions at sea
TACTICS
Steer inflatable boats in between the whales and harpoons Three boats harpoon the whales and bring them to the Nisshin Maru for processing Has rammed ships, and used smoke bombs in the past
HISTORY
The ship was built in Poland 1985, bought by Greenpeace in 2002 Since the 1986 whaling moratorium the Japanese government has allowed hunting under scientific permits Formerly the MY Robert Hunter, it was renamed in December to honour the late conservationist




FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific