Farley Mowat - one of the vessels of environmental extremist group Sea Shepherd - has been stripped of its registration in Canada, Britain and Belize and is now a pirate vessel.

Despite now facing a forced boarding if encountered by any nation's navy or coast guard, the ship is on its way to the Antarctic to do battle with Japanese whaling ships. The Farley Mowat is said to be equipped with a "can opener" battering ram.

Captain Paul Watson still commands a six-ship fleet, and told reporters of his upcoming action near Antarctica, "At the risk of sounding dramatic, my crew and I are prepared to die for these whales if need be."

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