The Ady Gil is no more — and the Sea Shepherd are back down to two boats.
Paul Watson has confirmed that the Japanese whaling vessel Shonan Maru #2 cut the high-tech $2 million Ady Gil in two, paralyzing her. He said the stealth boat was idling in waters near Commonwealth Bay when it was suddenly approached and rammed by the Japanese ship. “This seriously escalates the whole situation,” Watson told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“It cut eight feet off the front of the vessel. There is a big gaping hole, so it can’t go anywhere or it would fill up with water,” he said.
The crew of six have all been accounted for, Watson confirmed. Five are on the new ship MV Bob Barker, with one still on the Ady Gil. We imagine that guy to be Captain Pete Bethune, who designed and built the boat.
Obviously, there are a whole bunch of questions as how a boat as fast as the Ady Gil could be surprised — and not get the hell out of the way. But furthermore, the Japanese should be held accountable for ramming a much smaller vessel — and putting human lives in great danger in the process. This appears to have been a full-on collision — not some accidental sideswipe. They should be prepared for a great deal of international outrage with this one.
[UPDATE 1] Jeff Hansen, Australian director of the Sea Shepherd organisation, said the Ady Gil had come to a stop in front of the Shonan Maru 2 vessel.
“It was stationary at the time. It tried to back out of the way but the Shonan Maru 2 had it in its path and it cleaned it up. It’s still floating at the moment, but chances are it will take on water and sink. Mr Hansen said the crew of six were uninjured. “Everyone aboard is safe, we’ve managed to get everyone off and they’re ok. We have it all on film and we’re getting onto all the authorities at the moment.” [via Australian Herald Sun]
[UPDATE 2] 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. According to eyewitness Captain Chuck Swift on the Bob Barker, the attack happened while the vessels were dead in the water. The Shonan Maru No. 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. [via Sea Shepherd]
[UPDATE 3] The Sea Shepherd are now requesting that the Australian government send a naval vessel to restore the peace in the waters of the Australian Antarctic Territory.
[UPDATE 4] A video has been added to Youtube showing the Ady Gil confronting the Nisshin Maru earlier today. The video was shot by an operator on the Japanese vessel. Spoiler: Doesn’t show much.
[UPDATE 6] The official Sea Shepherd account of the distress call has changed from the first release. It now reads “The Japanese ships initially refused to acknowledge the May Day distress of the Ady Gil, but ultimately did acknowledge the call. Despite acknowledging the call, they did not offer to assist the Ady Gil or the Bob Barker in any way.”
[UPDATE 7] We’ve added two videos of the impact here.
[UPDATE 8] A new video has surfaced from the Ady Gil showing her last moments before the collision and the whalers clear intent to cause harm. Watch it here.