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Whaling Wars : The Ady Gil sinks

January 8, 2010

For long distance observers, like myself, the Southern Ocean seems like a mad place where whaling ships and cashed up protestors clash like two drunks in a pub. It appears to be more about testosterone fuelled drama than stated objectives.

Yesterday we had a video that appeared as if a Japanese Whaling Ship had deliberately rammed into the protest vessel the Sea Shepherd’s Ady Gil. This odd shaped blackened speed boat that (looks like a rejected prop from a James Bond film) appeared to be stationary when the larger Japanese ship with water cannons blasting struck at full force. Using the footage supplied by the protestor you be led to believe that the Japanese had turned their ship in order to hit the Ady Gil. The bow of the protest vessel was damaged and yet it still remained afloat.

The media reaction from various sources has been swift with each side blaming each other for the clash.

Sea Shepherd’s group founder and ship captain Paul Watson was reported after the incident as saying, “we now have a real whale war on our hands.”

“The series of sabotage acts by the Sea Shepherd were very dangerous and risked the life and safety of the Japanese crew members. These acts should be strongly condemned,” Yasuhisa Kawamura, Japan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, told reporters in Tokyo. “Violence will not contribute to the final solution of this issue.”

Politicians from around Australia have condemned the Japanese for hitting the Ady Gil with few condemning the Sea Shepherd for endangering their crew with such dangerous acts. Peter Garret seems to be a lone rational voice who has asked for both sides to back off.

Meanwhile the leader of the Australian Greens Party has made this statement, “The bill should be sent to Tokyo with a demand for payment.”

Today a new video has been released that was taken by the crew of the Japanese vessel. It clearly show that the Ady Gil was not stationary as first claimed. Instead it was moving in the direction of the Japanese ship under its own power when incident occurred. So far from being a case where the Japanese ship intentionally rammed a stationary boat it is now a case of contributory negligence on the part of the Ady Gil.

The situation appears to be getting out of hand in the Southern Ocean but so far the Australian Government wants to distance itself from the fray. The claim that Ady Gil is registered under the New Zealand flag and it is therefore their responsibility to investigate.

Meanwhile it has just been reported that Ady Gil has finally sunk after it started to take on water in heavy seas.

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