by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Causes.
Photo: Flickr/carstenfonsdal

After a promising start to their 2011 anti-whaling campaign, the Sea Shepherd fleet appears to have suffered a major blow to one of their vessels.

According to a posting on the Planet Ocean Alliance boards, (now confirmed by Sea Shepherd) the Brigitte Bardot issued a distress signal after being damaged by a rogue wave.

“Steve Irwin responds to a distress call issued by the Brigitte Bardot. Brigitte Bardot was very seriously damaged by a powerful wave which has cracked the bow and the pontoon. The Steve Irwin reported that they are currently facing the storm to reach the position of Brigitte Bardot, some 240 nautical miles South West. It will be on-site in approximately 20 hours. The Steve Irwin and will ensure the safety of the crew and then plans to escort the ship damaged in Fremantle for repairs.”

The MV Brigitte Bardot, formerly named the Gojira, is one of three ships the Sea Shepherd currently have en route to intercept the Japanese whaling fleet. The $4M vessel was acquired last year as a successor of sorts to the Ady Gil – which sank after a collision with a whaling vessel in January 2010. The Bardot is the fastest SSCS vessel and was instrumental last year in sending the Japanese fleet home early.

This is a developing story, so we’ll update as we learn more. Right now, our thoughts are for a safe rescue of the ship and her crew.

UPDATE: Sea Shepherd has released news regarding the state of the Brigitte Bardot.

Brigitte Bardot Captain Jonathan Miles Renecle of South Africa was pursuing the Japanese factory shipNisshin Maru in six meter swells when the wave slammed into the port side of the vessel cracking the hull. The crack has been getting wider as the seas continue to pound the vessel.

Captain Renecle is confident that the ship will stay afloat until the Steve Irwin arrives.”

The Brigitte Bardot is at 51 degrees 42 minutes South and 99 Degrees 21 minutes East, or 1500 miles southwest of Fremantle, Western Australia.

You can read the full release here. More as we get it.

Update 2: Sea Shepherd is saying that a rogue 33 ft. wave smashed into the side of the Bardot – knocking many crew straight out of their beds. Some pictures of the damage are below.

The good news is that the Steve Irwin is now escorting the damaged Brigitte Bardot back to Fremantle, Australia. We’re glad to hear all are safe.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • Siske

    As a longtime Sea Shepherd volunteer I have been a few times on the vessel when it was Docked in Amsterdam early’er this year , I went there with an Epoxy expert because I didn’t trust the Hull struckture . The guy was realy impressed how cheap the vessel is build.
    I spoke out my fear about the vessel to several people , and that I never should go with this ship onto the Oceans.
    Its a “good Weather vessel” , nothing simular as for example the former Sea Shepherd trimaran ‘Earthrace’ who was specialy designed to Survive Heavy Sea’s !
    That this vessel looked simular doesn’t mean it behaves simular.

    • The Dave

      Yeah, you probably know better than I do, that the officers and executives of Sea Shepherd are not very smart.

      • Keionsegg

        i dont think you can blame sscs officials but the original builders for taking the cheapest bid to build their ship

      • romika3

        Paul Watson claims to be a Captain (although he has not papers) and therefore he should have be able to “size” up a vessel’s capability to withstand the seas. I expect that he didn’t even have the boat surveyed before leasing it. This is the consequence of having no knowledge….

      • The Dave

        The BB was built for one fair-weather trip around the world fifteen years ago with an escort. She was NOT built for continuous use on rough seas.

        It’s not a matter of cheap, it’s a matter of purpose.

        If you try to redo your house’s electrical wiring with speaker cable, you can hardly blame the company that made the cable when your house burns down.

      • Patboo

        Let us remember the ship “Titanic”! Made to be unsinkable.
        Well stuff happens and to that end..let’s keep our eyes squarely on the MISSION!
        If they die, we all, are surely dead.
        What are any of you doing about anything to save our

  • Bushbob2000

    Every article I read on this, the wave keeps getting bigger.

  • romika3

    This vessel, like the Ady Gill, that was sent to the bottom to raise media awareness for the SSCS, is a mere pleasure craft purchased by the SSCS because it “stood out well” in Whale Wars and attracted the youth audience. SSCS is all about media and money and not safety for crew or volunteer. If this was a fishing vessel Watson would attribute the rogue wave to the God Neptune….!!!!

  • The Dave

    She was built fifteen years ago and meant only to go on one relatively tame trip. To that end, her delicate, lightweight construction made perfect sense.

    Mmkay absolutely CAN blame Sea Shepherd officials – they were told exactly this, and blew it off. That’s called irresponsibility!

    The way you so casually and practically delusionally pass the blame like that, you would probably be welcomed into the Church of Scientology with open arms.

  • The Dave

    I predict it’ll be a 40-foot wave before the story’s done making its rounds.

  • Eiji Nakano

    BB is not designed to go Antarctic sea as Ady Gil.
    And “Divine Wind (Kamikaze)” save Japan and sunk enemy’s ship 800 years ago and this year.
    SSCS chose wrong operation name as “Gojira” for ship.
    Gojira eat whale in Japanese movie.

  • romika3

    Sorry, but you are note Paul Watson….

    • Anonymous

      We can confirm that this is Paul Watson.

  • romika3

    “If all fools wore white hoods, any crowd would look like a field of blooming buckwheat. AUSTIN O’MALLEY,” thus the ships of fools living off the backs of the common fishermen….whining on street corners….. and pretending to be pirates …..