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Sea Shepherd Vessel Suffers 'Serious Damage' from Rogue Wave [UPDATED]

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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.

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  • 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.

    • TheHerbalGerbil

      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

        • Whitebeard

          Who’s decision was it to take a “good weather vessel” into the dangerous waters of the Antarctic? Not the original builders. The SSCS repeatedly states that they are going to put their lives at risk and that’s exactly what they did.

        • 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….

        • TheHerbalGerbil

          The BB was built for one fair-weather trip around the world fifteen years ago, probably with the presumption that she would have an escort in case things got dicey. She was NOT built for continuous use alone 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.

          • Ednakano

            You are right.
            As Ady Gil, Those ship is strong enough to make trip in Antarctic sea with ices

      • 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

  • Mkay

    So, apparently the SSCS doesn’t trust the opinion of any of their “longtime volunteers”, and instead went with the cheap-hulled ship out to the SO – am I reading that right?

    • Sis

      U can’t blame the Sea Shepherd ‘Officials’ that the original owners build it so cheap.
      They are the ones who took the risk, they wanted space and as less weight as possible. Giving up Strenght , Precautionary measurements and thus Safety.

      Further there have never been “official warnings” About the ship.
      It was as you said an “Personal Opinion” that there were a lot off risks using this vessel in the remote and hostile waters off the SO.
      Like the poor contruction quality and the weak design.

      • TheHerbalGerbil

        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.

  • Skylerbrooke

    No distress call made because the Bob Barker is with the Bardot according to AMSA, all is well.

  • Skylerbrooke

    Now it was a 33′ wave, what happened to 6′ and then 20′, this ‘story’ keeps growing like pinocchio’s nose. It is being told by watson so I shouldn’t be surprised but a 33′ wave? there would be no boat left at all.

    • TheHerbalGerbil

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

  • 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….!!!!

  • 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.

  • Paulwatson

    What a silly body of self appointed armchair experts we have here. The Brigitte Bardot was constructed to circumnavigate the globe in record time which she did in 1998 and that meant it was constructed for all sea conditions. Sea Shepherd also circumnavigated the planet during the last year and spent three months in the Southern Ocean and the Ross Sea last season without mishap. It is a good vessel and has served us well. We are presently escorting the vessel to Fremantle and it will be repaired. The Steve Irwin will return to the Southern Ocean to support the Bob Barker as soon as possible. The Bob Barker continues to pursue the Japanese whaling fleet. No whales have been killed as yet. I am proud of my captains, my officers and my crew who are actually doing something instead of whining like fools who know absolutely nothing about what they are commenting on. Facta non verba!

    • romika3

      Sorry, but you are note Paul Watson….

      • ecorazzi

        We can confirm that this is Paul Watson.

      • Boo Radley

        You sound like a paid for ICR troll Romi.

    • 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 …..

  • romika3

    I remember reviewing the SSCS posts last year prior to the SSCS taking this boat. The “Bat boat”, the boat that was going to take the Japanese down was all the talk. On Face Book the youth were posting “racist” comments against the people of Japan and the fishermen and making music videos about the Bat boat, they were emptying their piggy banks to send in their allowances as donations and buying tee shirts to impress their friends, the producers of Whales Wars were jumping up and down because of the viewer impact that this mystery boat would have on views statistics. Just think about all of this and you wonder why we cannot support this organization who rants and bobs about the ocean under the guise of a conservation organization while putting the safety of their brainwashed youth crew at risk and emptying the pockets of movie stars who are looking of a cause…..

  • TheHerbalGerbil

    The pontoon has now broken off and Sea Shepherd has transferred most of the Bardot’s crew to the Steve Irwin.

  • Aaron Peavler

    what the article does not list is Shonan Maru 2 anolaged the Mayday and they and the Steve Irwin escorted the vessel back to port.

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