The Ady Gil finally left port today from Hobart, Tasmania at around 11AM local time. The newest addition to the Sea Shepherd fleet had attempted to leave port twice before over the last few weeks, but was forced to return after some serious technical glitches. The crew will now rendezvous with the MV Steve Irwin; currently anchored near the French Research base at Dumont d’ Urville, in French territorial waters.
Though their campaign against the Japanese whaling fleet is less than two weeks old, the Sea Shepherd have already experienced some tense confrontations. This is due largely to Japan’s new tactic of sending a harpoon vessel to tail and keep track of the Irwin at all times. If their position is known, they can radio the rest of the whaling fleet to stay clear while stymieing the Irwin from getting too close.
With the addition of the Ady Gil, however, the Sea Shepherd can use its tremendous speed to shake any tail and do a little reconnaissance of its own. The Japanese have confirmed that two vessels will be used to track the SS — but we assume that second one is still with the rest of the whaling fleet. “Once we unite with our other vessel we should be in a position to seriously turn the tables on this Japanese security ship that is stalking us,” said Captain Paul Watson.
While anchored, the SS have enjoyed the support of the French Research base — with a portion of the crew going ashore and being honored with a plaque and letter of commendation. “Our sympathy goes out towards this ship’s activities in enforcing the recommendations of the International Whaling Commission,” wrote Marie France Roy, the District Chief for the base.
So, it looks like we’ve got two days or so before things pick up again. Stay tuned — and we wish the crew of the Ady Gil all the best in reaching their destination this time.
Photos: The Ady Gil departing Hobart as captured via webcam.