In our list of forces working against the Sea Shepherd’s desperate struggle to save the foundering Ady Gil, weather was the number one concern.
Unfortunately, it now appears that Mother Nature has claimed the stealth boat.
A poster on a Sea Shepherd forum was listening to Captain Paul Watson being interviewed on an Australian morning television show when the bad news was revealed.
“Paul Watson just said on ABC News Breakfast Australia that the Ady Gil has sunk, they (not sure which ship) had been towing her for 6-7 hours towards the French base but the weather picked up, she took on water and sunk. He confirmed that all fuel and oil had been taken off the vessel.”
Earlier, the MV Bob Barker attempted to tow the Ady Gil — but quickly discovered that she was taking on too much water when moved. There were hopes that a French vessel with a crane might come to assist, but we’ve no idea if they ever showed up. Either way, it’s an unfortunate end to such a beautiful vessel. In memory, we’ve added some of our favorite pics below.
[UPDATE] Confirmed. Watson says the ship went down shortly before 8:30am AEDT today while it was being towed to an island. [Link]
[UPDATE #2] According to reports, the Ady Gil snapped its tow lines after taking on too much water. Sea Shepherd reported the last known position of the ship to Australian authorities, warning them that it could pose a navigation hazard for three hours after the sinking. The ICR Whaling organization has posted photos of the abandoned Ady Gil drifting; presumably before she sank some time later.
“We spent the greater part of yesterday transferring all of the fuel, oil and batteries and any other contaminates,” said Peter Hammarstedt, the Bob Barker’s first officer. Japanese whalers say an oil slick is following the Gil, but we imagine that it would be minor considering a.) the SS claim the boat was low on fuel when it was struck and b.) the efforts made afterwards to reduce environmental impact of its sinking.