Videos Show Collision Between Japanese Whaling Ship & Protesters

By Andrew Moseman | January 7, 2010 12:08 pm

You could’ve seen this one coming a mile away—the high seas tensions between Japanese whalers and the environmental groups that harass them degenerated into downright naval warfare this week. A Japanese whaling ship collided with a environmental group’s boat in waters near Antarctica yesterday, sparking finger-pointing, international bickering, and even more bad blood.

The collision late yesterday damaged the Ady Gil, a powerboat that is part of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society protest against the Japan’s annual whaling expedition to the Southern Ocean. Six crew members were rescued by another protest vessel and the boat may sink, Sea Shepherd said in a statement [Business Week]. The governments of Australia and New Zealand say they plan to investigate the crash; the Ady Gil is registered in New Zealand, which opposes the Japanese whaling.

Unsurprisingly, each sides blamed the other. The Japanese boat released a video shot from its deck. The video shows a frothy wake coming from the stern of the Ady Gil, although it is unclear whether the trimaran (the Ady Gil) was moving. The Shonan Maru 2 was directing a water cannon at the Ady Gil before and during the collision, which is clearly seen on the video, and the bow of the Ady Gil was sheared off [The New York Times]. However, the Sea Shepherd people released their own video which shows the whalers veering to intercept. Take a look:

Sea Shepherd boats routinely dog the Japanese whaling vessels, which operate under a loophole in the international moratorium on whaling that allows a certain amount of whale killings for research purposes. DISCOVER has documented complaints by American scientists that killing whales isn’t necessary for the research Japanese scientists are conducting, and also the stealthy killings of other cetaceans, like bottlenose dolphins. The International Whaling Commission continues to try to figure out how to amend its rules to contain Japan’s whaling efforts, thus far without success.

No one on board the Ady Gil died this time around, but one activist reported cracked ribs. The vessel’s six crew members were rescued from the stricken craft by the crew of the Bob Barker, a former Norwegian whaler recently purchased and refitted with a $5-million donation from Bob Barker, who hosted the TV game show “The Price Is Right” for 35 years [Los Angeles Times]. In the aftermath of the close call, a détente seems far out of reach. Sea Shepherd spokesman Paul Watson said the incident had turned the confrontations into a “real whale war” [BBC News].

Related Content:
80beats: Is the Whaling Ban Really the Best Way to Save the Whales?
80beats: Controversial Deal Could Allow Japan To Hunt More Whales
80beats: Commando Filmmakers Expose Secret Dolphin Slaughter in Japan
Discoblog: Japan Whaling Redux: American Scientists Say Slaughter Was Unnecessary
Discoblog: Say What? Japanese Whaling Ships Accuse Animal Planet of Eco-Terrorism

  • Eatapeach

    [Moderator’s note: This comment has been deleted because it made no sense.]

  • A mean one

    Imagine how many more Japenese would be depleting our oceans if the millions killed 65 years ago would have survived and bred for 3 generations? How about the total of WW2 ‘S bodycount? We might have bought a hundred years in just five. Now what ever happened to those damned locusts?

  • han

    WTF is up with the above comments?

    Anyhow, I’ve been watching Whale Wars on Animal Planet for a couple of seasons now and I find myself growing less and less sympathetic to Sea Shepherd’s side. I definitely don’t approve of the slaughter of whales and I’m behind those who work to stop it, but I wonder if Paul Watson is the best leader for this movement. He doesn’t seem to consider the long-term consequences of his group’s actions and he recklessly puts human lives at risk. I understand that his crew knows and accepts the risks involved, but their lives shouldn’t be thrown away in an action that will be ultimately be unproductive. He seems to value whales above humans, and that’s just messed up. Plus, he comes across as an arrogant jerk who won’t tolerate the slightest dissent.

    However, I’ll be singing a different tune if whaling actually ceases as a result of Sea Shepherd’s actions. Even if it doesn’t cease entirely, I appreciate their efforts to bring the issue to light.

  • Matt Tarditti

    Dude…Batman is going to be pissed!

  • carmen

    whale hunting has been going on forever but lately its getting deadly for both sides the whale dont stand a chance with steel boats and hi tech sonar when the japanese change their diet the hunting will stop..good luck with that..

  • John

    If Shepard’s boat is supposed to be so high class, advanced, and so on then how did a whaling boat hit it? Even if the whaling boat was trying to ram them, it should have been easy enough to avoid with his space age boat he’s so proud of. All he is trying to do is get everyone to feel sorry for the poor little protesters、 even though he was the one to attack the whaling boat first. I guess the whalers were finally tired of his crap and give him his just deserves.

  • Japanese Words

    Interesting to see the video from two different sides. My guess is that they both were probably at fault.

  • Mike

    more whales, less people!

  • Elizabeth

    I agree with Japanese Words; I’m sure both are at fault.
    I’m just very curious to know exactly what type of “research” the Japanese are conducting by killing all these whales. This video (link below) explains the Japanese are permitted to kill 1,000 whales per year! This research better be important.

  • Oscar

    Not the first time that this group has done something reckless for publicity and it sure wont be the last, I am in the same boat (pardon the pun) as Han’s comments above, the more I see and hear of the sea Shepard the less sympathetic I am to there cause. Technically the Japanese are not breaking the law, however, the protesters are and have been for a long time now. I still find the whale hunting abhorrent but do not condone extremist criminal activity that this group employs time after time again.

    I think it was my mum who said it best “Two wrongs don’t make a right”

    Both at fault as far as this incident is concerned, but lets face it if there was no whaling there would be no whaling vessels, if there was no whaling vessels there would be no Sea Sheppard, if there was no Sea Sheppard there would be no stupid attempts at publicity and every one would be safe at home with family and enjoying every minute of it.

  • asbomb

    f all the shiiite, it’s entertaining…. more ramming of big boats I SAY

  • SandMan

    Publicity is a vital component to the Sea Shepard Movement. Most of time the Japanese, Icelandic, Norwegian whaling ships take evasive action and avoid the publicity like the plague. These incidents are also avoided like the plague by the mainstream media. After all its Toyota who pays the bills of CNN, BBC, ABC, CBS and the like …correct?

    Capt. Paul Watson and his people have been cutting across the bows of these ships and harrassing them since day one. That is what they do….

    Well for us arm chair consevation types… to sit at home a be critical of the methods used by the movement is a bit hypocritical.. Capt. Watson’s mantra is, “if someone does not go to bat (pardon the put) for the whales”, who will? I say there should more of this and not less.

    Where is the worlds greatest policeman, the US of A government?, Where is the UN?
    Where is Greenpeace? In fact Paul Watson was a founder of the now more conservative major political party that Green Peace has become…. He decided to do something and other Greenpeace leaders decided to sit on their hands and attend conferences….drink sake and eat sushi..and of course watch their bottom line and their six figure salaries..

    People are slaughtering primates, cheetahs, tigers, elephants and other large animals all over the world..for what was that again? Food? or because they are just an inconvinience? It is not right in this modern age of reason. We are producing record crops of corn and other grain that is used to produce ethanol to put our cars and burned as fuel??

    1000 whales are allowed to slaughtered each season. Its barbaric.. Yet we are all happy to drive our beloved ‘Toyotas’ and pass judgement on the brave few who are fighting for the whales. Come on people. You have to stand up for something sometime… There is absolutley no rational for anyone to systmatically go about killing these wild animals for any reason..commercial, research or otherwise…Do something !!……Call your congressman, embarrass the Japanese Government and put some commercial pressure on them and they will stop the killing in due time. Do something..

  • Sandy

    Maybe less money should be put on space-age, sleek, Bond-like canoe pieces of crap that can’t out-run a fat dilapidated whale boat, and should instead be invested in finding safer ways to save the whales.

  • Dr. Shanti

    For those in Australia, you seem to forget some basic facts. First of all, the Southern Ocean is not Australian territory – it is categorized as International Waters. No other country on the planet recognizes the claims that say they are Australian territory. Secondly, you have a Canadian outcast, who runs a Dutch-registered ship, telling the world he represents the Australians and “their” whales. Thirdly, you have Terry Irwin, who lent the Sea Shepherds the name of Steve Irwin simply to keep in the public eye, because lets face it, with Steve dead, not one damn person gives a crap about Bindi the Jungle Girl, not in the US anyways. Steve Irwin would NEVER have agreed with the violent tactics and clear-cut racism that the Sea Shepherds have demonstrated time and time again. He would have done what GreenPeace does, and that is to try and change policy and negotiate. We would never have seen Steve Irwin on the deck of any ship throwing glass bottles at other ships and trying to ram them. He was a man of peace, not a violent hippie who is simply looking to raise funds. I am not for whaling, and would like to see it abolished, but this is not what Steve Irwin would do. GreenPeace has the right idea – they are trying to win over the hearts of the many, many Japanese people who oppose whaling, instead of reverting to racism and bringing up things that happened during WWII. Lots of horrible things happened during the war, and NO ONE’S hands were clean. Do I need to bring up the atrocities that Australia inflicted in East Timor? Did it ever occur to any of you that there are many in Japan who oppose whaling? Indicting an entire nation for what one particular business is doing is ludicrous and irresponsible.

    Lastly, I hear talk about boycotting Japanese products. Well to that I say GO RIGHT AHEAD! Let’s look at this for a minute, without Japanese products, you can say goodbye to most of your electronic goods. Let’s see how long you can last without them. I absolutely guarantee that it won’t be long. Take a look in your own houses and count how much stuff you have, I bet it’s a lot! So go ahead, boycott their products. All that is really going to do is put Australian merchants out of business. I’m sure that the store owner, whose products you aren’t buying anymore, will give you the high-five for sticking it to Japan and taking your business elsewhere, while his family starves and goes on welfare. Oh well, I guess they can live with the Aborigines and eat the slaughtered kangaroos when they lose their jobs and homes. Believe me, no one in the rest of the world cares what you do.

    If anyone feels bad for the Ady Gil, don’t. In case any of you have conveniently forgotten, that boat is responsible for the death of a Guatemalan fisherman during its attempt to set a record for going around the world. But who cares about human lives, right? Certainly not Peter Bethune. He just wanted to get back in his bio-diesel boat and race on. It was only one lowly fisherman, and there are whales to save! I applaud with the Guatemalans who have celebrated and are happy to see this thing at the bottom, polluting the Southern Ocean with whatever toxic material it had on board. Where is all the Australian sympathy for a human being who was killed so that Peter Bethune could set a speed record? Oh, since it wasn’t a whale, that’s OK I guess. I can see that most of the individuals who saw the videos don’t have degrees in physics, so I’ll try and explain. Yes, the Maru vessel veered towards the Ady Gil, but it would NOT have collided if the Ady Gil didn’t suddenly thrust forward, which is clearly evident in the video. The wake from the screws is incontrovertible. The reason they were thrusting forward was to drag a prop fouling line in front of the whaling vessel and they miscalculated the speed of the oncoming ship. Stupid!

    Ok, let’s talk about the horrible slaughter, of kangaroos, not whales, in Australia. If you reply that the kangaroo harvest is necessary because they overrun your farms – you have to remember that THEY WEREN’T ORIGINALLY YOUR FARMS! It was Aboriginal land that was taken forcibly. Many Australians still don’t see the Aborigines as a civilized race, and they never will. They too were murdered and slaughtered, but who cares in Australia, right? It’s all about the whales. Anti whaling campaign has nothing to do with the environmental protection. It’s used as an excuse for racism and ethnocentrism. Clean up your own country before you criticize any others. Just to remind you of your own glorious history – On 13 February 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd as well as the Leader of the Opposition, Brendan Nelson, delivered an official apology on behalf of the Parliament of Australia to the Stolen Generations:

    “For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry,” To the mothers and fathers, the brothers and sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry. “And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.”

    Yeah – “sorry” really makes up for the countless millions who have died at the hands of their white oppressors in Australia. For crying out loud, the Australian government didn’t even recognize Aborigines’ right to citizenship until 1967. Why doesn’t Paul Watson take Aborigine issues and rights on? Because he is only for what “white” Australia wants, and this is not what “white” Australia wants. They want to divert attention from their own sordid past.

    As far as Paul Watson’s integrity goes – before you go ahead and write that donation check based on what he says is happening, perhaps you should read the following excerpt from his book, “Earthforce”. On page 93, he advised readers to invent data and to deliver it with conviction to the press to support their positions, saying that “The nature of the mass media today is such that truth is irrelevant. What is true and what is right to the general public is what is defined as true and right by the mass media. Ronald Reagan understood that the facts are not relevant. The media reported what he said as fact…. a headline comment in Monday’s newspaper far outweighs the revelation of inaccuracy revealed in a small box inside the paper on Tuesday.” Remember that folks – according to Paul Watson, the truth is irrelevant!

    Quite frankly, I congratulate Animal Planet on their continued airing of this show – it’s about as entertaining and about as real as Tool Academy and any of the Housewives shows. What does it do for the whales? Not a damn thing. More whales die in boat collisions and fishing nets than in the whale harvest. More whales are affected by sonar testing by the US Navy – but Paul Watson doesn’t have the guts to take that on. Facts people – try sticking to them.

    Dr. Shanti

  • Sir Rodney Grant

    All the politically correct idiots who worship at the foot of Steve Irwin, who claim they want to end whaling, but then they have the arrogant hypocritical nerve to criticize those who have the GUTS and BALLS to do the thing that is NECESSARY to stop it. Even if the Sea Shepherd blew up that ship, that violence would be TRIVIAL and INSIGNIFICANT compared to the violence that the whalers do, and that paid government soldiers do, and that nature does. However, for once, the use of force – i.e. violence – would be infinitely more justified.

    The same politically correct crybabies think it is “heresy” to criticize or condemn government soldiers, who have life easy, getting TRILLIONS of dollars of GOVERNMENT money for THEIR causes, some of which may be justified, but most often not.

    Millions of people supported War in Iraq. Well, I have the right to support War for Animal Rights. That is my first amendment free speech right.

    And Steve Irwin & his family didn’t mind showing animals murdering and eating other animals. But, suddenly, when HE is killed by an animal, his family jumps into super-politically-correct self-pretentious mode and tries to prevent the public from knowing this part of the truth. Very hypocritically selective.

    If you don’t fight for my (or the Sea Shepherd’s) cause or injustice of our concern, then I won’t fight for your cause or injustice of concern – including racism and some bullshit arbitrary nationalistic distinction.

    Using military force – whether by military or – if they don’t do it – by civilians – to end torture of animals is 100x more justified than using military force for trivial silly unnecessary arbitrary nationalistic causes.

  • Irish Buffalo

    Fight on, Sea Shepherds! For once someone cares more for the less fortunate creatures of this earth than for the mass produced human populations that are killing the resources and spreading their (our) wastes in a manner that can only lead to ultimate destruction of life as we know it. We are the bacteria on the earth Petri dish, and once the nutiants are depleted, the bacteria will succumb in it’s (our) own waste.

  • Shocked College Student

    Wow… there are some pretty opinionated people on this blog. For some of you, I’d say that you shouldn’t try to win people over just on these comments… there are some good ideas in here! Make blogs of your own (which I hope you have)! I would read them.

    I’m doing a paper on why whaling should be stopped, and these videos are an interesting twist. I’ve been so gungho about stopping whaling and doing everything that is possible to achieve that, but I guess sometimes doing EVERYTHING isn’t always the right way to go about it…

    like my mother always told me…
    Doing something in moderation is more often then not the best way to go about it.

    Seems like that applies here… what the Sea Shepherds are doing is great, but is it really helping? Probably to some extent, but all of US who are reading this article could do a little something ‘in moderation.’ Like Sandman said, call your congressman! Let’s get some support going for these whales!

  • alvaun

    It is about time we start packing heavy artillery. If we cannot get help anywhere and the japanese fisherman is trying to kill us . its time we do the same . destroy there boats kill there fisherman and then we will get results. Middle of the sea who cant say a whale did not get even. we kill them all and we win.


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