On a recent episode of the Animal Planet documentary series, Whale Wars, an international incident involving the Sea Shepards played out on millions of American television screens. On the episode of Whale Wars titled “Sliced In Two”, the Ady Gil carbon-fiber speed-boat (which resembles what Batman would drive were he to turn aquatic and fight crime in Gotham exclusively from the Hudson River) was rammed by a Japanese whaling vessel named the Shonan Maru 2.
You can see video of the Ady Gil and Shonan Maru 2 collision here , presented in a split-screen format that allows you to see the crash from the point-of-view of both ships. The collision took place near Antarctica on January 6, 2010.
Whale wars Vessel Ady Gil Sunk By Shonan Maru 2 (Video Here)
As Whale Wars “Sliced In Two” began, the Ady Gil crew were sitting topside, waving farewell to their Sea Shepards comrades on the nearby Bob Barker. The Ady Gil was out of fuel after running an interference mission to slow the progress of the Shonan Maru and the other Japanese whaling fleet. The Sea Shepards believe whaling in the Antarctic waters violates international law, and attempt to impede the whaling industry in the region whenever possible. Whale Wars documents their efforts.
On Whale Wars “Sliced In Two”, the Shonan Maru can be seen heading toward the Ady Gil (which supposedly had it’s engine in either idle or not running at all to conserve fuel), blasting their water cannons and LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device). At the last moment before a collision could be averted, the mammoth Shonan Maru 2 appears to turn directly into the Ady Gil, crashing into the small boat and ripping off it’s front end. For comparison purposes, the Ady Gil’s captain, Pete Bethune put it this way: “It’s 80 tons against 1,000 tons. It’s just not a fair fight.” (See split-screen video of the Ady Gil crash with the Shonan Maru 2 here.)
After a frantic few moments, it was determined by the horrified Bob Barker crew that all members of the Ady Gil had made it below deck before the impact, and were safe. A cameraman aboard the Ady Gil suffered a rib injury. The Ady Gil appeared to be totaled, and taking on water fast. They crew of the damaged vessel were rescued by their fellow Sea Shepards, and taken aboard the Bob Barker.
What do you think? Did the Shonan Maru 2 intentionally crash into the Ady Gil, threatening the lives of all aboard? Or was this just another sabotage move by the Sea Shepards, as the Japanese claimed after the incident?
Aftermath: Ady Gil Captain Boards Shonan Maru 2, Convicted In Japan For Assault
It is interesting to note that in mid-February 2010, one month after the ship he built and skippered was rammed by the Shonan Maru 2, Ady Gil captain Pete Bethune boarded the Japanese vessel in a possible act of retaliation. According to the LA Times, Pete Bethune was held and tried in Japan for crimes including trespassing, weapons possession (he used a knife to cut netting to board the Shonan Maru 2) and assault charges related to an earlier incident.
Days before boarding the vessel, activist Peter Bethune apparently threw a bottle of butyric acid onto the Shonan Maru 2’s deck and several crew reportedly suffered chemical burns. Bethune was convicted, and sentenced in early July 2010 to a suspended two-year prison sentence. Bethune will not serve jail time unless he violates any other Japan laws. Peter Bethune lives in New Zealand when not out on the high seas or being held in Japanese custody.
Whale Wars – Animal Planet “Sliced In Two” – filmed January 2010, aired July 2010
The LA Times “Activist convicted of assaulting Japanese whaling crew”