Last week, the Japanese whaling vessel Shonan Maru No. 2 rammed Ady Gil, a trimaran operated by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, off the coast of Antarctica. Ady Gil was part of a small Sea Shepherd fleet attempting to disrupt whaling operations in the Southern Ocean. The collision was captured by the Shonan Maru’s crew.

The trimaran, a relatively frail thing that was never designed for polar waters, let alone sea battles, reportedly cost more than a million dollars. It might be easy to regard its destruction a kind of failure, but, as Watson has demonstrated time and again, this would be inapt, if not mistaken. For at least one global news cycle, anyway, he has done what a million dollars worth of paid television advertising might not be able to do: he has made the modern-day killing of whales a headline. More significant, perhaps, he appears to have drawn the Japanese whalers into the mode of semi-lawless, ship-to-ship aggression where he excels. He has lured them into a street fight.

For years Sea Shepherd activists have harassed the Japanese whaling fleet using tactics ranging from fouling propellers to ramming. This whaling season, the Sea Shepherds deployed two new vessels in addition to their mothership, MV Steve Irwin. The new vessels include the Ady Gil, destroyed in the collision last week, and MV Bob Barker, a former Norwegian whaling vessel purchased with money donated by the long time host of The Price Is Right, after whom the ship is named.


First, the Barker was secretly converted, given Sea Shepherd’s signature black paint job, and secretly dispatched to the Southern Ocean, flying a Norwegian flag. That ruse, making it appear that the ship was from one of the three last countries that support commercial whaling (the others are Iceland and Japan), was to fool the Japanese fleet into allowing the boat to get close. When they neared the Japanese fleet, the crew lowered Norway’s flag and hoisted their preferred pennant: The Jolly Roger, the skull-and-crossbones flag associated with 17th- and 18th-century piracy.

The new ships hint at the growing resources of the environmental group, particularly after their exploits have become the subject of a popular reality TV show. If the conflict between Sea Shepherds and whalers continues to escalate, it is only a matter of time before government navies become involved, exactly what the Sea Shepherds are hoping for.

Posted by Christopher Albon in Navy

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  • JV

    US State Det: “terrorism is defined as politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.”

    These people are eco-terrorists, just like ELF. The FBI says so.

    Seeing as they are terrorists, why would these idiots want the navies involved? Wouldn’t the presence of a naval vessel prevent them from interfering with fishing? Wouldn’t they be arrested for terrorism? Or have we so emasculated ourselves that legally we would have no authority to do anything but watch?

  • Uh, if any navy does get involved, it would probably be the JMSDF. Is Sea Sheperd really sure they want that?

  • Smiley1081

    Moreover, I have seen the video, and to me it not as if the Shonan Maru rammed the Ady Gil, but the other way around…

    Whale hunting is not something I have simpathy for, but dang ecopirates are worse…

  • jwhaz

    This is silly…wake up everyone.

    Japan tried to destroy the world in WWII and failed.
    But they are the same people today as they were then.
    They are only concerned about meeting today’s economic needs.
    They do not need whale meat..but they make a lot of $$ off of it.
    If they have to fish oceans bare they will do so without any remorse…then perhaps they will start taking your backyard away from you.

    Sea Sheppard is just trying to save something of this world for our grandchildren to enjoy. There has to be balance.

    • oh shush. racist troll. you clearly know nothing about the whaling industry

  • One might consider the ramming of the ADY GIL and appropriate response by the Japanese whalers giving the actions of the ADY GIL and the other Sea Shepherd vessels.

    This would be no different than a merchant ship running over a pirate vessel that was attempting to board them earlier that day.

  • JV: Excellent point. They are clearly eco-terrorists and their tactics are very similar to ELF attacks. Of course, it should also be noted that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

    XBradTC: They would love JMSDF to get involved. The Sea Shepherds are incredibly popular in New Zealand and Australia, an aggressive action by the Japanese government would require a response by New Zealand/Australia. The international incident would create the type of press the Sea Shepherds dreams of. The Sea Shepherds are masters of the media.

    Smiley1081: Here is another angle: To me, it looks like the Shonan Maru No. 2 changes course to strike the Ady Gil. Now, that said, the largest thing I have captained is a dinghy.

  • Doc

    As much as I detest Whaling, I detest self righteous pr!cks risking the lives of men out in an unforgiving ocean. Videos are posted by various groups clearly showing Sea Shephards ramming whaling vessels, but then when they lose a million dollar boat, they scream “Foul”‘ The Sea Shepards next ploy is to say that the Japanese leave the area as though to say they abandoned the Sea Shephards when the Sea Shephards own pictures show the Whalers in close proximity. Whether they would ever lend assistance would take the heart of a very generous man, I personaly would find it hard to assist at all. The Japanese Captain left the area, assessed the situation then returned, what was he suppsed to do? He is responsible for a crew who have a sad job but families to support. Plenty of Americans work at jobs they hate for money too. The Captain of the Ady Gil has a sweet do nothing job and an Ego the size of Texas, he belongs in jail.

  • Doc

    One thing; Saudi Arabia and other countries have been under fire for supporting Terrorism financialy, they have sympathy for groups fighting against America. Why hasn’t Bob Barker been questioned for his support of terrorism? Because it’s popular? If so what defines terrorism? Could it be if you have more wacko’s on your side, it’s no longer Terrorism?

  • The actions of the Bob Barker are nothing less than Piracy. I myself am a perfectly normal animal loving australian and even I think you people are going way too far. I think it is obvious that the media, in their support of the Bob Barker, neglect to draw attention to the fact that the Bob Barker have conducted over 370 acts of piracy as well as over 100 other illegal practices in the last 12 months, yet we sweep it under the rug. There is nothing illegal about whaling and while i disagree with it personally, They are doing nothing wrong. These are NOT our waters. Lets stop kidding ourselves. Only Australia believes they are, its a running joke with the rest of the world. ‘oh you know australia?’ ‘oh yeah, they think they own an ocean’ pfft. And for you women on here? 82% of your perfume products have whale products in them. Men? your aftershave. your cologne. come on people. you cant be this hipocritical surely??