Thursday, January 14, 2010

Japanese whaler sinks activist ship Ady Gil

Ady Gil anti-whaling ship
The Ady Gil was a powerful trimaran originally designed to break the record of the shortest time to circumnavigate the globe. Although its two attempts did not achieve their goal, the ship remained a truly unique in its genre. High technology, speed and stealth made it the perfect match to complete the anti-whaling fleet of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in tracking illegal Japanese whalers in the Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Territorial waters.

On January 6th, it made the news but unfortunately for a sad reason. While supervising one of the Japanese vessels, the MV Shōnan Maru 2, a collision occurred between the two ships. The $2 million 18 ton vessel did not survive the 500 ton whaling ship's hit and reportedly sunk the next day.

On the video below are shown 3 different angles of the collision. We clearly see that the Ady Gil crew was relaxing on the deck, far from expecting what was soon going to happen. When they realised the Japanese ship changed its course heading straight for them, time was too little to react, especially when you know that the boat had to maneuver forward, through the Japanese ship's collision course, in order to escape.

For your information, this year the Japanese are allowing (themselves) the catch of around 900 minke whales and 50 fin whales for "research purposes" (you can even notice the big RESEARCH sign on the boat in the video below). Although minke whales populations are not in danger as of 2009, fin whales are classified as an endangered species and their fishing is not allowed at international levels. To make matters worse, the Japanese government discretely hands out money or finances local projects in poor nations that will support their cause in return (For example, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, etc.). As the vote of a small nation weighs the same as a powerful one on international talks, the Japanese have gained support in unfair ways. There is a lot more to learn about these issues and I will definitely try posting more information on the topic in the future.

Read more: Sea Shepherd news report of the incident
Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
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