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Environmental group's powerboat destroyed by Japanese whalers

Von: abc (abc@123.cl) [Profil]
Datum: 07.01.2010 05:44
Message-ID: <20100107-044422.48.0@abc.shawnews.vc.shawcable.net>
Newsgroup: alt.animals.whales alt.animals.dolphins alt.animals alt.animal
Environmental group's powerboat destroyed by Japanese whalers


By Amy Coopes, Agence France-PresseJanuary 6, 2010


This handout photo received and taken on January 6, 2010 from the Sea
Shepherd Conservation Society shows the Sea Shepherd's ship Ady Gil, a
wave-piercing boat formerly known as "Earthrace", after it was rammed
by Japanese whaling vessel Shonan Maru No. 2 (background) in Antarctic
waters. The space-age powerboat sent to harass Japanese whalers was
rammed and sliced in two in its very first clash, activists said,
dramatically escalating hostilities in icy Antarctic seas. All six crew
on the Ady Gil trimaran, which holds the round-the-world record, were
rescued unharmed, the Sea Shepherd animal rights group said in a
statement.

Photograph by: JoAnne McArthur, AFP/Getty Images


SYDNEY  A space-age powerboat sent to harass Japanese whalers was
rammed and sliced in two in its very first clash on Wednesday,
activists said, dramatically escalating hostilities in icy Antarctic
seas.

The futuristic Ady Gil trimaran, which holds the round-the-world record
and was enlisted by militant activists from the Sea Shepherd
Conservation Society for this whaling season, received "catastrophic
damage" and was sinking, they said.

All six crew, who earlier hurled stink bombs at the whalers to disrupt
their annual hunt, were rescued unharmed by Sea Shepherd's Bob Barker
ship. Activists described the attack as unprovoked and said it was
captured on film.

"The Shonan Maru No. 2 suddenly started up and deliberately rammed the
Ady Gil ripping eight feet (2.4 metres) of the bow of the vessel
completely off," a Sea Shepherd statement said.

"The Ady Gil is believed to be sinking and chances of salvage are very
grim," it added.

The whalers accused the Ady Gil's five New Zealand and one Dutch crew
of trying to tangle the Nisshin Maru's rudder and propeller with rope,
and aiming a "green laser device" at its sailors, as well as launching
stink bombs.

"The Sea Shepherd extremism is becoming more violent . . . Their
actions are nothing but felonious behaviour," Japan's Institute of
Cetacean Research said in a statement.

Paul Watson, captain of Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin ship and a spokesman
for the group, said the annual pursuit had now turned into a "real
whale war".

"The Japanese whalers have now escalated this conflict very violently,"
he said.

"If they think that our remaining two ships will retreat from the
Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in the face of their extremism, they
will be mistaken.

"We now have a real whale war on our hands now and we have no intention
of retreating."

Australia said it had no plans to send a vessel to monitor the
escalating situation some 1,300 nautical miles south of the Tasmanian
capital Hobart as it urged both sides to show restraint.

"It's critical for safety at sea to be the highest priority and for
absolute and utmost restraint to be exercised by all parties in this
very remote and inhospitable region," Environment Minister Peter
Garrett said.

The wave-piercing, carbon-and-kevlar Ady Gil, bankrolled by a Hollywood
businessman, was one of the world's most celebrated vessels. In 2008,
under its former name Earthrace, it smashed the world circumnavigation
record by two weeks.

"This is a substantial loss for our organization," said Watson. "The
Ady Gil, the former Earthrace, represents a loss of almost two million
dollars.

"However the loss of a single whale is of more importance to us and we
will not lose the Ady Gil in vain. This blow simply strengthens our
resolve, it does not weaken our spirit."

Watson also accused the Japanese of using surveillance flights to
pinpoint the anti-whaling vessels and send pursuing ships, setting back
their campaign by weeks.

The activists, who set off from Australia a month ago, finally caught
up with the whalers before dawn near Antarctica's Commonwealth Bay.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is a small but militant
environmentalist group which specialises in "direct action" to halt
marine environmental destruction.

Its activists have harassed the Japanese fleet over the past six
hunting seasons, including ramming a whaling vessel, and claim to have
saved the lives of hundreds of whales.

"When people call us pirates I don't really have a problem with that 
we're pirates of compassion in pursuit of pirates of profit," Watson
told AFP in 2007.

An international moratorium on commercial whaling was imposed in 1986
but Japan kills hundreds each year using a loophole that allows "lethal
research" on the animals.


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