Japan Kills Sea Shepherd Anti Whaling Ship. For Scientific Research?

Japan rams Sea Shepherd Ady Gil photo

Photo: Sea Shepherd
Sea Shepherd Boat Sinking
Neither the kevlar reinforcing, nor a radar deflecting paint job, was enough to protect the Ady Gil trimaran from what Sea Shepherd are calling "an unprovoked attack," when the Japanese security ship Shonan Maru No. 2 apparently "deliberately rammed and caused catastrophic damage."

Videos after the jump. The ABC have video footage showing the Japanese continued to fire water cannons at the Ady Gil crew, even after they had rammed and smashed the ships bow. A YouTube clip of the incident is below. UPDATE: a video showing a second angle is at the bottom of this post:

According to the captain of another Sea Shepherd boat in the area at the time, the Japanese boat ripped about 2.5 metres (8 ft) of the Ady Gil's bow "completely off." Sea Shepherd are saying the trimaran is "sinking and chances of salvage are very grim." Although they did manage rescue the six crew.

FURTHER UPDATE: ABC News Breakfast have an interview with the Ady Gil Skipper, Pete Bethune about the incident. He says video shot by Animal Planet crew blatantly shows that the Japanese vessel turned to starboard to shear off the boat. He also confirms that the cameraman who was aboard the Ady Gil has two broken ribs. And that the bow section that was ripped off was sleeping quarters, but fortunately no-one was asleep there at the time of the collision. The ABC further report that Sea Shepherd are working to salvage the Ady Gil.

In November 2009 the Sea Shepherd Foundation showed off their $1.5 million+ new anti-whaling boat, the Ady Gil, in Hobart, Tasmania, prior to heading into southern Antarctic waters to tackle Japan's whaling operations. The futuristic looking, carbon-fibre, wave-piercing trimaran had been reinforced with an extra half a tonne of Kevlar to cope with Antarctic conditions.

Indy Bay report Paul Watson, the controversial head of Sea Shepherd as saying, " This is a substantial loss for our organization, The Ady Gil, the former Earthrace, represents a loss of almost two million dollars. However the loss of a single whale is of more importance to us and we will not lose the Ady Gil in vain." Captain Watson said, "This blow simply strengthens our resolve, it does not weaken our spirit."

Sea Shepherd Ady Gil Hobart photo

Photo: Ady Gil before the ramming. Jayne Landsberg, ABC News

News coverage News.com suggest one the Ady Gil crew suffered broken ribs, but the eariler Sea Shepherd media release indicated all crew were unharmed.

Spy Planes
In related news a News Zealand public relations expert, working for Japanese whaling interests, is reported to have paid for the chartering of two aircraft from Australia to track Sea Shepherd ships in southern waters and pass on their location to the Japanese whaling fleet. Both the Australian Greens and Liberal opposition political parties want such flights outlawed from Australian airfields.

After winning office in December 2007, the incoming Australian Labor government promised to take legal action against Japan whaling in Australian Antarctic Territorial waters. More than two years on and that promise remains devoid of decisive action.

Sea Shepherd may be rather rambunctious and happy to bend a few rules themselves, but at least they are in the thick of it, bringing attention to the unnecessary slaughter of majestic wild creatures.

UPDATE: Second video from Revkin
Writes Revkin, "Sea Shepherd has released video from a distant vantage point that clearly shows the Japanese ship veering to starboard to close with the smaller protest craft."

UPDATE - 7 Jan 2010: Sea Shepherd report the Ady Gil has indeed sunk.

More Whaling and Sea Shepherd
Captain Paul Watson of Whale Wars
Australia Tells Japan to End Whaling or Face Legal Action. Rest of World Rolls Eyes.
Whaling 'Peace Talks' Stalled, Japan Won't Cut Its Hunt Quotas Deep Enough

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