Posted By RichC on January 15, 2010
While monitoring what my friend Pete Bethune has been up to since he and his biodiesel powered boat Earthrace circumnavigated the world in 2008, it was with distress to see the unique boat destroyed (see previous posts). In 2009 the futuristic boat joined up with an anti-poaching marine wildlife conservation organization Sea Shepherd which utilized the futuristic trimarian which was Earthrace, now Ady Gil. It is now in operation with larger Sea Shepherd vessels and takes advantage of its open ocean speed to keep up with the hunter ships used by the Japanese to kill whales. The current task is to protect as many whales as possible from the Japanese whalers who are, according to Sea Shepherd, “operating illegally” and “targeting endangered and protected whales in an established international whale sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling, in violation of the Antarctic Treaty and in contempt of an Australian Federal Court order.”
On January 5th (press release) however, things changed in the so called “Whale Wars” as it is dubbed by the television program Animal Planet. The Ady Gil was aligned, engine off, in a parallel position with the larger Sea Shepherd vessel as the Japanese whaling security ship, the Shonan Maru No. 2, charged toward their position. The Ady Gil crewmembers were on sleek fiber decks as they watched Shonan Maru No. 2 head toward them showing their starboard side and spraying water. (video taken from it below). A change of course is seen by the Shonan Maru, presumably they intended to be closer to the Ady Gil, but collision occurred between the smaller fiber composite Ady Gil and a larger steel ship.
To some this may have looked like an accident, to others a mistake by the Ady Gil, but to most the Shonan Maru No. 2, operating under speed is seen to make a purposeful starboard course change taking directly towards the new and effective Sea Shepherd vessel. For those noting that the Ady Gil started it engines and moving forward just prior to impact, this is true … but those familiar with handling a boat at sea know that directional control and maneuvering speed is effective in the forward direction (not reverse). Besides, no captain risks his life, a crew and boat ramming using a small plastic boat with large a steel ship operating at nearly full speed – other than a terrorist with a bomb. Conclusion: either the captain/crew of the Shonan Maru purposefully made a direction change with intent to ram the Ady Gil, or they purposefully directed their ship towards the Ady Gil with the intent to disrupt with their bow wave and water canons – a mistake that caused the collision.
It should also be noted that Sea Shepherd does not use aggressive tactics beyond lights, lasers, sound and positioning which requiring the whaling ships to alter course in their mission to protect whales. While this is a frustration to factory ships operating from Japan that harvesting whales, Sea Shepherd is within their legal rights according to international maritime law and intentional collisions should be prosecuted. Without repercussions or an independent investigation, the “Whale Wares” will escalate and loss of human life will be the outcome.
Sea Shepherd’s Mission Statement
Established in 1977, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization. Our mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.
Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.