Real Whale War erupts in Antarctic!

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society anti-whaling boat the Ady Gill has been attacked by Japanese whalers, and has sunk.  This is a reflection of the determination of the Japanese to hunt whales in the Antarctic, and to deter the Society in its determination to stop whaling in this area.

The full report from the Sydney Morning Herald follows below:

The high-tech stealth boat Ady Gil was cut in half and sunk by a Japanese security vessel in Antarctic waters today, dramatically upping the stakes in the annual struggle between whalers and protesters.

Sea Shepherd group leader Paul Watson told Fairfax Media the $1.5 million Ady Gil was sinking, but its six-man crew had been rescued and was uninjured.

Earlier today, the fleet was contacted for the first time by the Ady Gil and Sea Shepherd’s “secret” third vessel, the Bob Barker.

Where the collision occurred, according to Sea Shepherd.Where the collision occurred, according to Sea Shepherd.

Captain Watson, aboard the Steve Irwin, said he was still 500 nautical miles from the scene.

“This seriously escalates the whole situation,” Captain Watson said of the collision.

The ICR said the Ady Gil came “within collision distance” directly in front of the Nisshin Maru bow and repeatedly deployed a rope from its stern “to entangle the Japanese vessel’s rudder and propeller”.

The statement accused the activists of shining a laser device at the Nisshin Maru crew and launching acid-filled projectiles, one of which landed on the vessel’s deck.

After broadcasting a warning message, the Nisshin Maru sprayed the Ady Gil with water cannons to prevent it from coming closer, the ICR said.

Captain Watson told Fairfax in November the Ady Gil would be used to intercept the whaling fleet’s chaser boats.

“What I think we can do is latch onto at least one of the three harpoon vessels and keep them out of the picture,” he said.

Looking more like Batman’s spacecraft than a boat, the biodiesel-powered trimaran Ady Gil arrived at the Southern Ocean stand-off between Japanese whalers and activists yesterday.

It was reported this morning to be about 50 nautical miles away from the whaling fleet.

Japan’s Fisheries Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu had earlier warned two security ships would be used to protect the whaling fleet, intervening when Sea Shepherd tried to block the transfer of harpooned whales to the factory ship Nisshin Maru.

Captain Watson this morning announced the existence of a secret third ship in the Sea Shepherd flotilla.

He said he was confident that with three ships, Sea Shepherd would be able to cause maximum disruption to the whaling, which has been underway for around a month.

Japanese whalers have stepped up security this year, sending spy flights from Australian airports to track protest ships.

The Hobart flights were paid for by Wellington-based Omeka Communications, air industry sources told Fairfax.

Omeka is a public relations firm retained by Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research. The Hobart flights carried Omeka’s principal, Glenn Inwood, who is an institute spokesman, and another man, the sources said.

The operation started in December when the Steve Irwin left Fremantle to intercept the whaling fleet, which this year is targeting 935 minke whales and 50 fin whales.

WA pilots said surveillance flights continued out of Albany for some days, costing a ”truckload” of money. Two men aboard the flights told locals they were ”looking for people who were looking for whales”.

The Rudd Government has repeatedly called for caution by both sides in the wilds of the Antarctic.

“We have reminded the masters of protest vessels of their obligations under international law to take all steps to ensure safety of life at sea, particularly in the inhospitable conditions of the Southern Ocean,” Environment Minister Peter Garrett said recently.

“We are also passing the same message to the government of Japan.”

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has brought in a third boat to help it in its anti-whaling activities.  Its media release, written before the sinking of the Agy Gil, follows below:

“Another whaling ship arrived in the Southern Ocean today, unexpected and right on time: the Bob Barker.
The 1,200-ton Norwegian built Antarctic harpoon vessel caught up with the Japanese whaling fleet at 0300 Hours on Wednesday, January 6th, in the area of Commonwealth Bay off the Adelie Coast at 143 Degrees 17 Minutes East and 66 Degrees 43 Minutes South.
Thanks to a $5,000,000 contribution from American television personality and icon Bob Barker, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was able to quietly purchase and refit the former Norwegian whaler in Africa. The ice strengthened fast chaser boat quietly departed from Mauritius on December 18th to join up with the Sea Shepherd ships Steve Irwin and Ady Gil in the Southern Ocean.
Barker has also funded the cost of a helicopter that will accompany the society’s ships. The aircraft is named The Nancy Burnet after the president of United Activists for Animal Rights, an organization Barker also supports. This new helicopter will participate in future campaigns.
“I’m delighted to be able to help the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in its mission to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans,” said Barker. “There is lot of talk about preserving our ecosystems and species, but this is one organization that puts these words into action.”
For the first time ever, Sea Shepherd has three ships on the Japanese fleet.

Thanks to the generous support of Bob Barker, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been given the means to seriously impact the profits of the whaling industry this season.

 “We intend to bankrupt the whalers,” said Captain Paul Watson.”

2 replies on “Real Whale War erupts in Antarctic!”

  1. […] Real Whale War erupts in Antarctic! | Whale Cottage Portfolio Blog […]

  2. Chris says:

    On January 8, 2010 at 17:20 (GMT) the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel Bob Barker reported the last known position of another Sea Shepherd vessel, the Ady Gil, to the Australian Rescue Coordination Center (ARCC). This report was made because the Ady Gil—which was originally going to be towed to a nearby base—is now sinking and could pose a navigation hazard for the next two to three hours.

    Having barely survived a vicious attack by the illegal Japanese whaling vessel Shonan Maru No. 2 on January 6, 2010, the Ady Gil began taking on water. Since that time, Bob Barker crew members have been working around the clock in an attempt to save the ship and remove possible environmental hazards in case the vessel had further complications while being towed.

    During the final towing attempt, the ropes holding the Ady Gil in place behind the Bob Barker snapped—seemingly the result of water accumulating in the vessel. Upon examination, the Ady Gil was found to be approximately 30% submerged, including the engine room and main fuel tanks. Fortunately, all fuel and lubricants had been removed form the Ady Gil hours earlier.

    The Bob Barker’s call to the ARCC fulfilled Sea Shepherd’s legal reporting requirements for this incident, but not its obligation to protect whales from the illegal Japanese fleet that is killing whales illegally in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

    The Bob Barker will now rejoin the Steve Irwin in pursuit of the whaling fleet to continue defending the whales.

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