>> They call it the Ocean Warrior, and it's set for battle on the high seas. This, the first purpose-built vessel for Sea Shepherd,the activist who tried to stop Japan's whalers now open to view in Amsterdam. On Monday, it sets out on its inaugural mission.>> On board the Ocean Warrior, I'm Reuters reporter Julian Satterthwaite.
Sea Shepherd pride themselves on a combative approach. They call this a warrior. It's painted gray. It looks like a warship. What's certain is it marks an escalation of hostilities in their battle with Japan.>> That means this kind of thing. Direct action against whale boats. Behavior to dangerous and illegal.
Captain Alex says the custom boat is a game changer.>> Lately we've seen much more aggression from the Japanese whaling fleet and we're actually quite worried about that and by being able to outrun them now we can keep them at a safe distance. So if we feel that they come to close, we can use the water cannon to make sure that they stay at a safe distance from us.
>> Ocean Warrior funded by European Postcode Lotteries. Their flag flies oddly next to the Jolly Roger. The shipmates assembled for the maiden mission fit the bill, though. It's a multinational, motley crew of eco-activists. But Tokyo doesn't find them so charming. It says its whaling is for scientific research and it has an injunction against Sea Shepherd's US arm that requires its boats to keep a safe distance.
But the group's European wing says it's exempt.>> Our ships are registered in the Netherlands so they fall under Dutch law. And under Dutch law, we have the right to protest, so we'll do whatever we can to stop them from killing whales illegally.>> Sea Shepherd are tight-lipped about the Ocean Warrior's first mission but it will be on patrol in some way in the Southern Ocean.
Japan's whalers be warned.