Japanese whale killers ram and destroy Sea Shepherd protest vessel the Ady Gil

Early this morning the Japanese whale killing ship Shonan Maru2 rammed and destroyed the Sea Shepherd protest vessel the Ady Gil. It was a miracle no Sea Shepherd crew were killed or seriously injured.

From Sea Shepherd CEO Steve Roest.
I was woken at 4am GMT to hear that the Japanese whaler and security vessel Shonan Maru2 had deliberately rammed the small Sea Shepherd intercept vessel Ady Gil. The Ady Gil had lost the front 3 metres of her nose completely and it is a miracle nobody was seriously injured or killed.

Captain Watson has made the following statement to the press:

In an unprovoked attack captured on film, the Japanese security ship Shonan Maru #2 deliberately rammed and caused catastrophic damage to the Sea Shepherd vessel Ady Gil.

Six crew crewmembers, four from New Zealand, one from Australia and one from the Netherlands were immediately rescued by the crew of the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker. None of the crew Ady Gil crew were injured.

The Ady Gil is believed to be sinking and chances of salvage are very grim.

According to eyewitness Captain Chuck Swift on the Bob Barker, the attack happened while the vessels were dead in the water. The Shonan Maru #2 suddenly started up and deliberately rammed the Ady Gil ripping eight feet of the bow of the vessel completely off. According to Captain Swift, the vessel does not look like it will be saved.

“The Japanese whalers have now escalated this conflict very violently.” Said Captain Paul Watson. “If they think that our remaining two ships will retreat from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in the face of their extremism, they will be mistaken. We now have a real whale war on our hands and we have no intention of retreating.”

Captain Paul Watson onboard the Steve Irwin is racing towards the area at 16 knots but still remains some five hundred miles to the north. The Bob Barker will has temporarily stop the pursuit of the Nisshin Maru to rescue the crew of the Ady Gil. The Japanese ships refused to acknowledge the May Day distress of the Ady Gil and used the incident to break away from the scene of the ramming.

The incident took place at 64 Degrees and 03 Minutes South and 143 Degrees and 09 Minutes East

Until this morning the Japanese were completely unaware of the existence of the Bob Barker. This newest addition to the Sea Shepherd fleet left Mauritius off the coast of Africa on December 18th and was able to advance along the ice edge from the West as the Japanese were busy worrying about the advance of the Steve Irwin from the North.

“This is a substantial loss for our organization,” said Captain Watson. “The Ady Gil, the former Earthrace vessel, 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. This blow simply strengthens our resolve, it does not weaken our spirit.”

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is requesting that the Australian government send a naval vessel to restore the peace in the waters of the Australian Antarctic Territory. We have 77 crew from 16 nations on three vessels, 6 of them were on the Ady Gil. Of these 21 are Australian citizens. 16 Australians on the Steve Irwin and 5 on the Bob Barker. Sea Shepherd believes that the Australian government has a responsibility to protect the lives of Australian citizens working to defend whales from illegal Japanese whaling activities.

“Australia needs to send a naval vessel down here as soon as possible to protect both the whales and the Australian citizens working to defend these whales.” Said Steve Irwin Chief Cook Laura Dakin of Canberra. “This is Australian Antarctic Territorial waters and I see the Japanese whalers doing whatever they want with impunity down here without a single Australian government vessel anywhere to be found. Peter Garrett, I have one question for you. Where the bloody hell are you?”



Sea Shepherd vows to continue campaign after whalers destroy Ady Gil

Yesterday was a hectic day in Commonwealth Bay, near Antarctica, in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The Ady Gil, while stationary, was puposefully rammed at speed by the Japanese whaling security vessel, the Shonan Maru 2. And the Japanese whaling fleet, and the world discovered Sea Shepherds surprise new conservation ship, the Bob Baker, an ex-Norwegian Antarctic ice-class whaling vessel that was bought in 2009 and secretly refitted in South Africa.

In the Antarctic early morning twilight at 0300 Hours, 6 January, the Bob Baker found the Nisshin Maru and her four harpoon vessels. The Japanese whaling operation had been caught unawares. They had been focussing on the location of the Steve Irwin, paying New Zealander Glenn Inwood's Omeka Public Relations company to hire charter flights first in Albany, and then in Melbourne and Hobart to locate and follow the Steve Irwin.

The 'spy flights' from Albany were able to direct the Shonan Maru 2 to shadow the Steve Irwin when it left Fremantle so that the main whaling fleet could avoid a conflict and do their whale slaughter in peace. The straegy worked for two weeks, until the Steve Irwin returned to Hobart to refuel and reprovision. Leaving Hobart on New Years Eve, the Steve Irwin was able to slip past undercover of a thunderstorm. The spy flights from Melbourne and Hobart organised by Glenn Inwood, estimated to cost about $18,000, could not locate the Steve Irwin due to the low cloud cover.

The Sea Shepherd also had some unexpected assistance departing Hobart from six people on a small motorboat, self identified as 'Taz Patrol', who patrolled the perimeter of the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ) locating the Yushin Maru and twittering it's location to the world (and Sea Shepherd).

So with the whaling fleet located, New Zealand skipper of the Ady Gil, Pete Bethune, drove his powerboat around the Nisshan Maru whaling factory ship, attempting to foul the factory ship's propellors. Evidently only one bauble of rotten butter reached the deck of the Nisshan Maru, but the green laser photonic disrupters were also used. In return the Nisshan Maru fired up its LRAD acoustic weapon and used its water cannon. Stalemate.

So the Ady Gil retreats with the Nisshan Maru fleeing. Sea Shepherd's new vessel the Bob Baker prepares to chase the Nisshan Maru and the fleet, while most of the Ady Gil crew sit on the roof with the vessel in a stationary idle. The videos show the Japanese harpoon vessel, the Shonan Maru 2 charging the Ady Gil with water canons blazing. Peter Bethune tells his crew to prepare for a drenching, little realizing the danger he and his crew were facing. While the water cannon sprays the roof of the Ady Gil blinding the crew, the Shonan Maru turns sharply to starboard right at the Ady Gil. In the few moments before impact Peter Bethune guns the Ady Gil, but it is far too late with Shonan Maru 2 slicing 2 metres off the bow of the Ady Gil, forcing the powerboat momentarily underwater and immersing the crew in the icy waters holding on to the roof for their lives.

Even after impact and seperation of the ships, the Shonan Maru 2 continues to pound the bedraggled crew hanging on to the top of the Ady Gil with water canon blasts.

Video: Japanese Whalers film Ady Gil being rammed by Shonan Maru 2

Video: Ady Gil rammed by Shonan Maru 2 filmed by Sea Shepherd from Bob Barker


Rammed Vessel Ady Gil Sinks

Sea Shepherd Resumes Pursuit of Illegal Whalers

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.