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Ocean crying for Justice: victims of slaughter. Mother & calf are killed so is Whale defender Ady Gil (Earthrace)

By WcP.Story.Teller - Posted on 16 February 2010

750+ tons (weight) made of iron & steel Japanese whaling ship Shonan Maru No. 2 vs 17 tons (weight), made of carbon-fibre (fibreglass) Earthrace, also known as Ady Gil, space-age, world record holder;100% biofuel-powered, only-one-of-its-kind trimaran with 6 crew on board including Skipper Pete Bethune
*update* Ady Gil rammed by Shonan Maru No. 2, view from MV Bob Barker, sitting parallel to the Ady Gil before the incident. Ady Gil rammed by Shonan Maru No. 2, view from MV Bob Barker, sitting parallel to the Ady Gil before the incident. 6 crewmembers, four from New Zealand, one from Australia, and one from the Netherlands, were immediately rescued by the crew of Bob Barker. Ady Gil skipper Pete Bethune told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that one of his crew had broken ribs but it was a “miracle” that no one had died. “When they were about 40 meters away they suddenly veered to starboard and cut off the front three or four meters of my boat and sheared it in half,” he said. “If anyone was in the forward sleeping quarters they would be dead.”


Skipper Pete Bethune tells of 'murderous' brush with death

The captain of the ill-fated Ady Gil has told of his crew's "murderous" brush with death in the Antarctic when their high-speed pursuit vessel was sliced open by a Japanese whaler.

As New Zealand maritime authorities waited in Fremantle to interview the survivors on Thursday, Kiwi Pete Bethune accused the crew of Shonan Maru 2 of "attempted murder" by "deliberately ramming" their boat into his space-age carbon-fibre vessel on January 6. The Japanese deny they were at fault, saying the Ady Gil turned deliberately in front of them.

"I've had a few nightmares - I think all the crew think about it every night," Captain Bethune told reporters on arrival in Fremantle aboard the Steve Irwin, the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd's vessel, early on Thursday.

The ship will be in port only 48 hours to refuel, resupply and put four of the Ady Gil crew ashore, before returning to Antarctic waters to resume its anti-whaling campaign. "Looking back on it, the day it happened the crew just went into shock," Captain Bethune said.

"And then the day after I was angry - really angry."

Captain Bethune described how his sleek trimaran - a $1.5 million former world speed record holder donated by US television personality and ocean life protector Ady Gil - had stopped chasing the Japanese whaling fleet in Australian territorial waters on the fateful morning. As it happened, the trimaran was running low on fuel, he said.

"We were dead in the water and we saw the Shonan Maru come in on us and deliberately line us up," he said.

"It wasn't like we were just in their path and they happened to come by us. They deliberately turned, and then for about 600 metres or 800 metres they came and it looked like they were going to miss us by about 20 to 30 metres.

"Then suddenly they turned to starboard sharply and cut us in half.

"There's no doubt in my mind - they deliberately rammed us.

"It's not an accident - it's a deliberate act that they came in and hit us."

Captain Bethune said video footage taken from another Sea Shepherd boat, the Bob Barker, showed clearly the Ady Gil had right of way.

"We've had maritime experts who have looked at the video footage from the Bob Barker and they're all unequivocal - the Shonan Maru 2 is at fault," he said.

Captain Bethune said that once his crew realised the collision was inevitable, they all dived into the cockpit for cover. "I remember as they came past, I said to the crew: 'These guys are going to hose us down, I just want you to sit there and be staunch'," he said.

"So, we were all just sitting there and they got us with hoses initially and they had the LRADs [long-range acoustic devices] going - and those LRADs are pretty intimidating, they're loud as hell.

"As they're coming past, it looks like they're going to miss us by about 20 metres and then suddenly they turned to starboard and in the space of three or four seconds it went from the crew all being pretty happy about things to suddenly realising our lives were in danger.

"All five crew had the same instinct - we all jumped off the[(bow] and crashed in a heap down in the cockpit area on the back deck.

"As we were crashing in a heap, the Shonan Maru, that's when they hit us.

"The whole boat skewed around and almost went under water. This wave of water came up over the top. It was a small miracle that no one was killed.

"The forward sleeping quarters were demolished.

"If there was a person in there, they would be dead for sure."

After the collision, Captain Bethune said the Japanese tried to wash them into the freezing Southern Ocean with a high-pressure hose as they huddled aboard the sinking Ady Gil.

One Ady Gil crew member, New Zealand cameraman Simeon Houtman, cracked two ribs during the incident. No one else was injured.

Japanese whalers deny mother and calf slaughter

JAPAN mounted an absurd defence of its barbaric whale slaughter by claiming there was no proof the two whales shown in yesterday's shocking photograph were a mother and her calf.

The Daily Telegraph's exclusive photograph of the two whales provoked worldwide outrage and pushed the online petition past 105,000. See the exclusive photograph - the first of this year's slaughter - as well as heart-breaking footage of the killing fields.

The Federal Government stood by its initial report that the photograph was indeed that of a mother minke and a calf. "We stand by our scientific advice that it was a calf and one of our top whale experts has confirmed that," Environment Minister Peter Garrett told The Daily Telegraph.

Mr Garrett said analysis of the photo and witness accounts established the whale was less than 5m long. According to one of Australia's top experts, a whale is still considered a calf until it is at least 5.7m, at which point mothers begin to wean them.

Gallery special: See the latest shameful pictures from the slaughter.

Japan's absurd response to the world outrage which greeted the first images of its whale hunt rested on a claim there was no proof two minkes photographed being hauled on the Japanese whaling ship were mother and baby.

The photograph of the adult and juvenile minkes will be part of "shocking evidence" the Federal Government has vowed to take to international courts.

Slaughter ... the body of a minke whale and her baby are dragged up onto the whaling ship Nisshin Maru. (February 2008 Japanese whaling in Antartica

Of 679 whales reported to have been killed during the 2008-2009 whale hunt in Antarctica, 304 were female. Four of the female whales were lactating, and 192 were pregnant at the time of death. The Japanese government's "Cruise Report" gives gruesome details on the fetuses killed. The four lactating females killed would each have had a dependent calf who would inevitably have starved to death.


Photos courtesy of World Charter For Cetacea, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and Daily Mail

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