All six crew on board the Ady Gil, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s high-speed intercepting vessel, are safe, but the fate of the boat is in doubt after a collision with a Japanese harpoon vessel left it disabled off the coast of Antarctica.
Anti-whaling activists, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, made famous in the Animal Planet television program, Whale Wars, have requested the Australian Navy send a vessel to their location in the Southern Ocean after the Japanese whaling vessel Shonan Maru 2 reportedly struck and sunk the radical conservation group’s new $2 million speed boat, the Ady Gil.
“It cut eight feet off the front of the vessel,” said Capt. Paul Watson, who was aboard the group’s flagship Steve Irwin, several hundred kilometers away at the time of the collision. “There is a big gaping hole, so it can’t go anywhere or it would fill up with water,” added Watson.
Sea Shepherd claims the Ady Gil was trying to get out of the way of the Japanese vessel, while the Japanese have accused the protesters of causing the collision. Jeff Hansen, Australian director of Sea Shepherd, said the Ady Gil had come to a stop in front of the Shonan Maru 2 vessel. [Note: video of the collision has now been released by the Institute for Cetacean Research].
“Everyone aboard is safe, we’ve managed to get everyone off and they’re ok. We have it all on film and we’re getting onto all the authorities at the moment,” Hansen told the Herald Sun.
The Japanese video shows the Ady Gil chasing the Japanese vessel and passing in front of it to release a prop-fouling rope rope. The boat disappears from the camera’s view before coming back into the frame. Japanese claim the collision was provoked by several hours of provocation at the hands of the Ady Gil and that the Sea Shepherds were the aggressors. [Article continues with photo gallery on page 2]