Whilst in pursuit of the Japanese whaling fleet, the Sea Shepherd scout vessel Brigitte Bardot was struck by a rogue wave on December 28, 2011, severely damaging the hull and detaching the port side pontoon.
Since then, the Steve Irwin moved to intercept the Brigitte Bardot and is now escorting it back to Fremantle, Australia, before returning to assist the Bob Barker in tracking and hopefully intercepting any whaling activity that the Japanese whaling fleet may attempt to engage in. At last report, the Bob Barker was in pursuit of the Japanese factory ship while being trailed by the Yushin Maru 3, moving through Australian Antarctic Territorial waters.
Currently the Steve Irwin and Brigitte Bardot are both being trailed by the Shonon Maru #2, one of the Japanese whaling fleet, which puts it now within 65 miles of the Australian continental Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ).
The Brigitte Bardot, under the command of Captain Joathan Miles Renecle of South Africa, was pursuing the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru in six meter swells when the rogue wave rose up and slammed into the port side of the vessel, cracking the hull. Since then the crack has gotten wider, eventually detaching the port side pontoon.
Since then, Captain Paul Watson of the Steve Irwin has ordered all but three members of the Brigitte Bardot crew to come aboard the Steve Irwin.
“The port side pontoon on the Brigitte Bardot has become detached after 1000 miles of navigating through rough seas.” Said Captain Paul Watson. “We are taking precautions and the only crew to remain on board will be Brigitte Bardot captain Jonathan Renecle of South Africa, ship manager Simon Ager of Canada and first mate Beck Straussner of the United States and chief engineer Vincent Vandendridssche of Belgium. Four of the crew have been transferred to the Steve Irwin.”
Source: Sea Shepherd
Image Source: Sea Shepherd and Carolina A. Castro