Whale Wars

January 7th, 2010 at 8:15 am by Jenna R

Busted Blonde links to incredible footage of the Sea Shepherd trimaran Ady Gil accelerating into the path of the Japanese ship which allegedly rammed it. Watch the wake of the Ady Gil as the ship approaches.

The crew members’ statement that the whaler was “trying to kill us, ramming us like that in the most hostile environments in the world. The only way to describe it is attempted murder” is simply ridiculous. Another ship, the Bob Barker, was close enough to see everything and the crew were rescued immediately. And the worst that happened was a clip on the nose and a few water cannons.

Typically, though BBC and some Australian newspapers have picked up on this, Stuff continues to headline that the Japanese ship “rammed” the boat. You have to search for the alternative article in the World section, halfway down, for any mention of the other side of the story.

Can anyone translate the Japanese?

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93 Responses to “Whale Wars”

  1. Manolo (13,837 comments) says:

    It’s a pity the Japs missed, because it would be very good to send that pesky trimaran to the bottom of the sea.

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  2. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    There is clear cavitation as they acclerated into the side of the Japanese ship. Under martime law they were also required to give way to the less maneuverable vessel which i not was in fact beinging to turn away.

    In short they deliberately rammed a merchant ship lawfully going about its business on the high seas. If this had happened off Somalia any nationas warship could have hosed them with fifty cal for amusment. If the Japanese ship had wanted to kill them it could have done a much better job as large ship vs plastic boat incidents usually result in the less plastic still on the surface. And for the cynical who actually has a higher score of running over other boats and killing their crews here?

    Personal opinions about the nature of what the Japanese are doing are not relevent, the anti-whalers are acting as pirates.

    Apprently the translation is something along the lines of “Ha, three more and I will have the same tonnage score as my grandfather”… or similar. Not too sure on that one.

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  3. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    As I’ve posted at GD, this behaviour by Kiwis should be prosecuted and their tickets taken off of them by our authorities.

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  4. Pete George (23,591 comments) says:

    Personal opinions about the nature of what the Japanese are doing are not relevant, the anti-whalers are acting as pirates.

    Agreed, they seem to be acting illegally and dangerously.

    But in international waters there may be nothing NZ can do about it?

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  5. alex Masterley (1,517 comments) says:

    The “andy Gil” deliberately put itself in a position where collision was inevitable.
    The Japanese vessel attempted to avod collision by turning to port. If it had not done that (which is a pity) then there would have been no more Andy Gil as instead of a receiving a glancing blow it would have been crushed.
    The Sea Shepperd people are knobs.

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  6. black paul (120 comments) says:

    I can translate the Japanese. It is (not exactly but very close):

    “Fuck you, dolphin! And fuck you, whale!”

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  7. alex Masterley (1,517 comments) says:

    Oh and it (the “Andy Gil”) is a NZ flagged vessel so Maritime NZ will look at the collision.

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  8. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Rubbish
    You get your masters and other tickets from a territorial body which allows you reciprocity elsewhere in the globe.
    We should take these off of the people out there.
    Let them resit the exams.
    It is the only safe and right thing to do.

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  9. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    I trust those greenies picked up all the flotsam and jetsam they left in the ocean

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  10. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    “But in international waters there may be nothing NZ can do about it?”

    A lot actually Pete. We can acknowledge that these vessles have acted illegaly and size them or deny them entry. all warships are required to render assistance so those who keep saying we should send one might get a fright about what they would be required to do.

    International waters are not a place of no law but rather international law, conventions and treaties. In other words complicated with a bad PR result.

    I would like nothing better than to see a couple of torpedos mysteriously put those whalers down but it wouldn’t be legal. Just good tv.

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  11. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    I knew it. I f*cking knew it. The moment I heard the headlines reporting only the protesters’ side of the story, and reporting the whalers had rammed them, I smelled a rat.

    Well, watch the wash off the back of the protester boat and see that they accelerated into the boat.

    These protesters are lying pieces of sh*t.

    It is bad enough these protesters put others in harm’s way. It is even worse that they deliberately cause an accident. But the most egregious of all is that they then blame the other side for causing it! These people should be immediately arrested and charged for their obviously willful act. Charge THEM with attempted murder and put them away. I hope the Japanese pursue these schmucks through court and put them away for a long time. I support any and all action against these idiots.

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  12. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  13. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    The msm seem to pitch the story at an anti-whaling market whereas the news item is that a bunch of greenies got so carried away in their cause they acted illegally, dangerously and were prepared to write off a million and bit vessel for a bit of PR.

    I would not have thought it would be asking too much to get a maritime expert to review the footage and give an opinion on who had right of way etc rather than just regurgitating the more interesting PRs from each side.

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  14. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Milt just for a refreshing change you are wrong. There is clear cavitation and a wake as evaluated by to two former members of the RNZN so far. You spent much time in the navy have you?

    You devotion to the party line is actually really tragic and you relevence is heading into the john minto area.

    BTW that was a collision alarm sounding on the Japanese ship. Some strange new concept of trying to run them down without warning I was not previously familier with.

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  15. Pita (373 comments) says:

    Through its actions on all matters other than whaling (and even that’s in doubt) Greenpeace is rapidly losing its moral authority as guardian of the planet.

    They have become politicised, lost their focus and are likely to alienate even their most ardent supporters.

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  16. pdm (844 comments) says:

    Pscho Milt I will stay with PM of NZ’s opinion – he seems to know a lot about boats and boating despite now living in the boating mecca of Dannevirke.

    History also says that Greenpeace deserved all they got.

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  17. scanner (340 comments) says:

    Sea Shepherd and Paul Watson are nothing but environmental terrorists, when you watch some of the other footage about this group there seems to be a definite pattern.
    Paul Watson so dangerous even the loonies at Greenpeace expelled him.
    What the Japanese are doing, harvesting whales (sorry Cam) in the Southern oceans disguised as “research”is very wrong, but placing lives at risk seems a stupid way to achieve your goal.
    Watching Watson at work is a scary experience, this man and his followers are crazy at the extreme and you can bet they knew exactly what they were doing, they went that little bit too far this time.
    Their PR machine would have gone into overdrive to try and spin this up as a ramming, when in fact they were the idiots that deliberately placed themselves in front of a ship.
    How long till someone dies?

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  18. Dave Mann (1,223 comments) says:

    I agree with your evaluation of the facts, Psycho. It didn’t look to me as if the Ady Gil accelerated towards the Jap ship at all.

    You are right on this…. but I still support the Japs. As far as I am concerned, the Japs should have turned and struck the Ady Gil fair amidships instead of just a glancing blow. Other footage I have seen suggests to me that both vessels were playing a manoevering game jockeying for position. The Adi Gil would have had the advantage of speed, of course, so why she wasn’t underway is probably just a matter of the skipper’s tactics at the time.

    The Japs have shown extreme restraint up to now. Water cannon indeed! Maybe they should be looking at using those nifty harpoon thingys.

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  19. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Pscho Milt I will stay with PM of NZ’s opinion”

    Wise decision, given that one is a self identified Psycho.

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  20. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    the hippies have stated why they are there;

    “Captain Paul Watson (Sea Shepherd President and Founder) intends to use the Ady Gil to intercept and physically block the harpoon ships from illegally slaughtering whales”

    …..and it appeared not to have worked!

    http://www.seashepherd.org/news-and-media/news-091020-1.html

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  21. Brian (Shadowfoot) (80 comments) says:

    What is the difference between these ecoterrorists and pirates?

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  22. Manolo (13,837 comments) says:

    “You devotion to the party line is actually really tragic and you relevence is heading into the john minto area.”

    Hear, hear! (while Milt continues to chant from his little red book).

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  23. Elijah Lineberry (306 comments) says:

    What splendid chaps these Whalers appear to be!

    Far from engaging in ‘attempted murder’ these fellows were simply ‘doing God’s work’ (opps, did I say that?)

    Whaling is good business and a lot of money for hardworking businessmen is made from it and I find it disgraceful that self appointed anti-Capitalist busybodies seek to end the industry and prevent these profits being made.

    What would be interesting is if someone provided five good reasons (or even 1) as to why preserving whales is necessary (assuming extinction would occur, which I doubt) apart from the usual facile “they are cute and cuddly – like dolphins” nonsense; what benefits to mankind would result from, say, twice the number of whales as there currently are.

    Throughout my entire life I have heard ‘Save The Whales’ and have yet to hear anyone tell me why, especially in contrast to a lucrative and successful profitmaking, employment providing, mankind advancing industry involved in whaling.

    http://www.nightcitytrader.blogspot.com

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  24. coventry (321 comments) says:

    Eco Terrorists 0 – Merchant Ship 1

    At what point do the actions of the environmentalists become terrorism ? If they tried to disable a planes engine in mid flight, the world would be up in arms.

    Let the fringe nutters freeze their balls off.

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  25. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Dave repetition of being wrong isn’t a “fact”.

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  26. Dave Mann (1,223 comments) says:

    OMG I have just had a thought…… What would a whalers’ support vessel called the Cameron Slater look like? How would it be armed? Who would win in a confrontation on the high seas? How long would it take? Who would win the publicity battle? :-)

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  27. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    OMG what if you just a dick, what would that look like… oh wait there it is.

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  28. Tom Semmens (79 comments) says:

    Whilst there are rules of the road, common sense is meant to prevail at sea. Both vessels were far to close. That is clearly the Ady Gill’s fault since they are ones trying to prevent the unjustified slaughter of whales.

    However the Japanese whaler clearly initiates the ramming manoeuvre. The Ady Gill was idling with enough power to maintain steerage when the Japanese vessel CLEARLY tightens its turn to starboard to deliberately cause a collision. This is the egregious act that causes the two vessels to collide and it seems obvious to me (with fifteen years experience at sea) that Japanese shipper deliberately tightened his manoeuvre to starboard to hit the Ady Gill when he realised he had the Ady Gill in a position where it would be unable to avoid his vessel. The correct thing to do would have been not to tighten your turn but to immediately alter course to port.To manouevre so recklessly when so close to another vessel and to deliberately ram another vessel at sea are both serious and criminal acts on the part of the Japanese captain.

    New Zealand needs to dispatch a naval ship to arrest the Japanese vessel and bring it to a port under NZ juristiction, where the appropriate charges may be laid.

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  29. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    Thanks for the other link Milt, I ran Busted Blonde link several times and it doesn’t make sense until you realise the Jap ship made a sharp turn to starboard followed by a turn to port when the collision occurs. Thats the problem with watching a video taken from a ship, you don’t have the ‘feel’ of how the ship is maneuvering.

    If Murray’s translation “Ha, three more and I will have the same tonnage score as my grandfather” is right, the Japanese skipper can claim credit.

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  30. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    But in international waters there may be nothing NZ can do about it?

    New Zealand asserts universal jurisdiction in respect of piracy and piratical acts. Not saying these qualify (from either side), but especially with a New Zealand flagged vessel, we can seek criminal consequences is New Zealand courts for actions on the high seas.

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  31. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    This is an interesting link

    http://gizmodo.com/5399710/matte-black-earthrace-power-boat-hunts-those-who-hunt-whales

    Ady Gil’s mission was to “hunt those who hunt whales” – the hunter became the hunted yesterday. Sea Shepherd wanted a fight and got it, and I have no sympathy for them.

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  32. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Tom large ships can’t initiate dick it takes them a long time to change anything where the afy gil is an oversized fizz boat that made every effort to get in the way and no “common sense” is NOT international maritime law. Good lord do you people just make shit up as you go along or what?

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  33. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    Murray, the Japanese vessel isn’t a large ship and the video from the Bob Barker makes it clear that it’s adequately maneuverable to swat idling fizz boats.

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  34. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Yes it is. And no it couldn’t. If you’re on one vessle looking DOWN at the other its that ones job to get out of the way particulay since the ady gil isn’t a ship at all, its a BOAT.

    Not using too many big words am I?

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  35. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    Murray – a genuine thanks for your contributions here. I was wondering what the loud sound in that video was. And your other analysis on right of way etc has been really helpful. Keep it up!

    How does law enforcement work in the open seas? When maritime law is broken, what court is responsible and can it hand out prison time? And what penalties might be possible based on those videos?

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  36. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    ” New Zealand asserts universal jurisdiction in respect of piracy and piratical acts.”

    Fucken idiots can’t even stop burglars purse snatchers or bikie gangs.

    They’re going to arrest a Japanese whaler??

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  37. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    How are the Sea Shepherd tactics supposed to work? If a group of Japanese people who were opposed to eating beef came to NZ and spent their time riding around farms on motorbikes trying to obstruct farmers, then would this persuade us to become vegetarian? If after being bombarded with paint for weeks a farmer decided to run over one of their motorbikes with his tractor, then would we condemn the farmer and immediately make cow farming illegal? Of course we wouldn’t. It’d make us dig our feet in and eat more beef.

    I suspect the Sea Shepherd guys are actually quite happy tearing around the oceans, generating publicity, and raising funds for their organisation. Actually doing something constructive to save whales sounds a lot less glamorous.

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  38. Tom Semmens (79 comments) says:

    First of all, the Shonan Maru 2 is a whale catcher, not a whaling ship. Whale catchers are small – less than 1000 tonnes – and are designed to be handy. Secondly, the Japanese vessel doesn’t just accidentially collide with the Ady Gill – it actively manoeuvred to hit the Ady Gill.

    Murray you have not got a clue about what you are talking about. I know this hasn’t deterred you in the past so I don’t hold much optimism it will now either. The skipper of a 900 tonne Whale Catcher – or a 90,000 tonne bulk carrier – cannot simply run down another vessel because the captain happens to feel he has right of way anymore than you can run down a jaywalker when you could have stopped in time simply because you feel your car has right of way. The primary rule at sea is to avoid danger. Rules exist to to that end. The rules are not an end unto themselves, and all precedent clearly points to abandoning the rules the minute continued adherence to them puts life or vessels in danger.

    The idea that one might have to have flexibility of mind and respond to what is in front of you in the best interests of safety may be alien to your brain, overflowing as it clearly is with simple right wing dogmas, but then that is why you have never been in charge of anything important and I have.

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  39. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    There is clear cavitation and a wake as evaluated by to two former members of the RNZN so far. You spent much time in the navy have you?

    I doubt many of the braying imbeciles on this thread have much navy experience either, Murray. The fact the Japanese ship started a turn to port immediately before the point of impact isn’t particularly relevant given the clear move to starboard to set it on collision course with the Ady Gil, is it? Looks to me exactly like they wanted to give the AG a fright, and it turned to shit when the AG did get a fright and threw the throttles open to try and get clear.

    To the braying imbeciles: the fact that you hate protestors and whales isn’t even remotely relevant to the post. If you had a few brain cells to rub together you’d be able to figure that out, but clearly insufficient cells are present.

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  40. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    Murray, how big is a “small” ship? if a 1000 tonne whale catcher is a “large ship” our pissy little 3,600 tonne frigates must be Ginormous, and God knows how you’d describe a 30,000 tonne cargo ship or a 120,000 tonne tanker.

    The reality is the Shonan Maru No. 2 is a small agile ship designed as such because it’s a whale catcher.

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  41. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    Tom Semmens, Psycho, Andrew W, etc

    The fact is the smaller ship accelerated into a larger passing ship and then lied about it. Everything else is commentary.

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  42. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    ben, didn’t you watch Milt’s link? Haven’t you actually read our comments? It’s obvious the skipper of the Ady Gill hit the throttles a couple of seconds before impact when he realised how close the Shonan Maru No. 2 had gotten to him, he then threw it into reverse, he was trying to get away. I personally don’t give a damn about whaling, to me they’re a resource like cows and chickens. This debate is about the collision, not the attached nonsense.

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  43. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    Nope. Reverse it was not, Andrew. In the moments before collision a wake behind the smaller boat was created. It accelerated into the larger boat.

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  44. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    The skipper of a 900 tonne Whale Catcher – or a 90,000 tonne bulk carrier – cannot simply run down another vessel because the captain happens to feel he has right of way anymore than you can run down a jaywalker when you could have stopped in time simply because you feel your car has right of way.
    Well, yes, that’s all very well but nor can you blame a train driver for running through a car playing chicken with the train. If you can’t stop (or turn) in time then you can’t stop. Laws of physics.

    In terms of safety first I would suggest that the Sea Shepherd boat is well in the wrong.

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  45. Richard (97 comments) says:

    Sticking to the collision issue (I think your 100% correct here Andrew W), it appears pretty clear to me based on footage that the Japanese rammed the Ady Gill, which was more or less stationary for all bit the last bit. And the Shonan Maru No 2 was maneuverable enough to turn into it, ram it, and turn away.

    So I think the original headlines were 100% correct.

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  46. andrei (2,664 comments) says:

    Haven’t you actually read our comments? It’s obvious the skipper of the Ady Gill hit the throttles a couple of seconds before impact when he realised how close the Shonan Maru No. 2 had gotten to him, he then threw it into reverse, he was trying to get away.

    Horse radish.

    (1) The whole purpose of the exercise from the perspective of the Ady Gil is to get close to the whaler to interfere with its ability to do what it is there to do.

    (2) The whaler was using water cannon in an attempt to force the Ady Gil to keep its distance.

    (3) The skipper of the Ady Gil forgot about the Bernoulli effect which comes into play when two vessels get too close – what happens is the water pressure between the two is decreased thereby forcing the two vessels together.

    This is a well known contributor to collisions at sea and is something well understood by all competent ship masters.

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  47. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    Didn’t that same boat run down some South American fisherman a few years back or am I mistaken. Could be karma.

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  48. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    Anyway, we non-experts can argue all day. Charge the protesters and let them have their day in court. Experts can argue the merits there.

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  49. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    andrei – except that in this case the whaler wasn’t a whaler but a ‘security’ boat there to run interference between the Sea Shepherd people and the actual whaling boats.

    Carbon fibre and steel. I guess that is why whaling boats are not made of the former.

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  50. andrei (2,664 comments) says:

    And Milt when watching the view of the collision as filmed from the other Anti-whaling ship you have to bear in mind that that ship is also underway and what appears to you as a starboard turn is almost certainly the maneuvering of the ship from which it is filmed

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  51. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    ben obviously you do have a comprehension problem, this is what I wrote:”It’s obvious the skipper of the Ady Gill hit the throttles a couple of seconds before impact when he realised how close the Shonan Maru No. 2 had gotten to him, he then threw it into reverse, he was trying to get away.”

    Have you ever been in a small boat near a hazard? The best course of action isn’t always obvious, it takes longer to accelerate than you realise and when you turn away from the hazard the back of the boat goes towards it. The skipper also had to deal with limited vision as a result of someone shoving a firehose in his face, all in all though I doubt that the Ady Gill would not have been hit even if the skipper hadn’t put the throttle ahead, the boat didn’t actually increase it’s forward speed much, more a case of the props pushing water out from under the counter giving the impression of speed. You need to look for a change in the bow wake to judge acceleration.

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  52. andrei (2,664 comments) says:

    andrei – except that in this case the whaler wasn’t a whaler but a ’security’ boat there to run interference between the Sea Shepherd people and the actual whaling boats.

    If that is so Brian please explain to me why the Ady Gil couldn’t just evade it and hassel the genuine boats given that the ADY GIL has a top speed of 45 knots (83.3 km/h) and it is doubtful your so called “security boat” can manage even half this.

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  53. Gosman (324 comments) says:

    It is quite clear from the footage from the Japanese ship that the engines on the Ady Gil were powered up a few seconds before the crash and the boat moved forward as a result. This is what looks like caused the collision as prior to this moment the Japanese ship looked like it was passing to port of the Ady Gil. The question has to be asked as well why the Ady Gil didn’t put the engines into reverse as that would have been the most logical course of action to take.

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  54. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    ben, perhaps your confusion is in your not realising the difference between a car and a boat, when you “hit the throttle” in a boat you’re simultaneously putting it into gear, the throttle and gear lever are the same thing, he then threw it into reverse.

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  55. ben (2,380 comments) says:

    Thanks Andrew, yes I get that. In your next comment you said “put the throttle ahead”. The opposite of reverse, no?

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  56. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Ben, Andrei: that video shot from the Bob Barker is pretty self-explanatory. Trying to pretend it was some kind of suicide attempt by the Ady Gil crew is way beyond reason.

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  57. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    Do you not accept that the crappy plastic boat, which I believe was/is up for sale, as is no bloody good to anyone, was deliberately put into this position to gain publicity, and try and gain insurance/maritime legal third party reparation as could not be sold.

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  58. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Gee I have no clue… so my time in the navy, being christened under the battlehonors plate of HMS New Zealand, my mother, father and step father and wife all being ex navy, having been on board ships since I was four including having been on Royalist when she fired her main guns for the last time and working on civilian ships from topsial scooners to steam tugs is my qaulification for “clueless”.

    Tell us about your time at Jutland there Admiral Tom. Noahs coxswain were you?

    Don’t fuck with the navy brat Tom, you’ll only look more of a dick than you actually are.

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  59. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Paulus my info is that it was rotting out before they got hold of it and its doubtful it would have made it back home. Looks like an insurance job with the small issue that no company would insure them anyway.

    This is the second time its run into another vessle as well. not looking good for the tree huggers at all.

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  60. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Looks like an insurance job…

    A cunning plan fit to have a weasel’s tail pinned on it. Sit there idling and wait for a Japanese ship to alter course to cross within a few feet of your bow while blinding you with water cannon, then you can pretend a panic response of trying to accelerate out of trouble and getting rammed by them. Yeah, that’ll really work.

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  61. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    The Japanese ship didn;t not alter course you fuckwit and repeating a lie what it was obviously a lie got your dear leader tossed out on her ass because it doesn’t fly anymore. You not get the papers or something.

    What are you stuck on stupid?

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  62. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    “The Japanese ship didn;t not alter course”

    FFS Murray, how the fuck can you claim that after watching the video taken from the bob Barker??

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  63. Dave Mann (1,223 comments) says:

    Murray, you seem to be very abusive

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  64. Dave Mann (1,223 comments) says:

    Murray, you seem to be very abusive.

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  65. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    Murray, you always claimed to have been in the army.

    Do try and keep your story straight sweetheart.

    xxx

    S

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  66. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Insurance Job?
    Who would give insurance to go to the Antarctic seas on a pirates trip with the Sea Shepherd lot I wonder?
    I would junk my policies with them next day I found out who it was.

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  67. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    Who would give insurance to go to the Antarctic seas on a pirates trip with the Sea Shepherd lot I wonder?

    A speciality marine syndicate of Lloyd’s, no doubt. You can get insurance for pretty much anything you want. I’m sure this crowd aren’t self-insuring.

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  68. minto57 (197 comments) says:

    It would seem all the naysayers cannot beleive their eyes and compensate with salty tales of being the captains favourite to justify their repungence for the protestors

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  69. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    It is sad watching your contortions. Have some shame.

    Oh, the shame of pointing out what’s plain to see in the video – how do I bear it?

    These are not honest people…

    You mean they could stoop as low as pretending their slaughter of threatened species for food is “scientific research?” Or what?

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  70. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt,

    Actually, they are doing research.

    This fact doesn’t change much though, since the research is driven primarily by the policy that regards whale stocks as a renewable resource and seeks to exploit them as such (for food, mainly).

    The research is to facilitate such sustainable use.

    At this point it becomes irrelevant, as if one is opposed to whales being utilised as a sustainable resource (current NZ government policy), one is by extension opposed to any lethal research that contributes to that goal.

    This situation is inconvenient for people who dislike whaling, however the International Whaling Commission was not set up with the aims of such people in mind.

    The real significance of research whaling is that it is perceived poorly by many people in nations having anti-whaling policies, because it has been cast as a “loophole” to the moratorium (which Japan was forced into accepting) and the science, which is of no use to people without interest in sustainable utilisation, is today conveniently ignored or disparaged.

    In reality, the moratorium is an 1982 appendage to the IWC convention, whereas the research whaling “loophole” is actually stated explicitly in the 1948 convention itself.

    The core issue today is that the west simply don’t like the purpose of the IWC anymore, but due to the nature of international agreements they can’t tear it up, and so instead have attempted to subvert it and obstruct it instead. The moratorium was the prime example of this. Who would ever have imagined a whaling commission that would set catch quotas at zero permanently?

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  71. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    comsumist,

    Sea Shepherd strategy is all about attracting media attention.

    Anyway, an accident seems the likely explanation. Misjudgment is probably the operative word, maybe a bit on both sides. The AG Captain’s decision to “stare them down” doesn’t strike me as being prudent (how they got their boat so close to the SM2 in the first place has not been explained). And the SM2 crew had no idea what script Sea Shepherd and it’s camera crew were playing to.

    As for this “moral debate” you raise, well Japan has been whaling in Antarctic waters for the better part of a century. New Zealand and Australia certainly weren’t complaining about it, until relatively recently. That’s not Japan’s issue, they are within their rights under international conventions (ICRW, UNCLOS).

    Other points:

    The research whaling is subsidised (partially) because if it were making profit then it would technically be commercial whaling. So that’s an unfair criticism.

    Japanese consumers obviously do want whale products. Iceland wouldn’t be shipping their fin whale products there if there was no one to eat it. Recently they go through around 4000 ~ 5000 tons a year. If you figure out how much is eaten per average sitting, and how regularly people who eat it do so, at least there must be several million people in Japan consuming it, if not more. Surveys also show a majority agree with the notion that whales are suitable as food.

    School lunches, pet food… Figures show that only a small fraction of the meat is distributed in school lunches. This is organized by local education boards etc that like to teach their kids the whale food culture. It’s a bit like how they have Maori culture lessons in school in New Zealand. If you don’t like whaling, you may not like it, but the Japanese see whale food as part of their culture. Again, this is not Japan’s issue, but an issue for those countries that suddenly changed their mind about whaling.

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  72. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Actually, they are doing research.

    This fact doesn’t change much though, since the research is driven primarily by the policy that regards whale stocks as a renewable resource and seeks to exploit them as such (for food, mainly).

    Yes. For some bizarre, unfathomable reason, the scientific world doesn’t have a great deal of use for “research” into how to turn threatened species into food.

    …this is not Japan’s issue, but an issue for those countries that suddenly changed their mind about whaling.

    A great number of countries “suddenly changed their mind about whaling” when it became clear most whale species were facing extinction. For most people that’s a “Well, duh.” It’s up to the Japanese and their fellow whale-munchers to explain what moral basis they have for the view “Fuck it, we’ll keep killing ‘em anyway.” No obvious one exists.

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  73. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Hey chronic I’ve served in both. Welcome to a world thats more than one dimensional.

    Service in one force does not preclude service in another.

    Dick.

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  74. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt,

    The whalers of today aren’t about to drive any of the species they target to extinction. That’s entirely opposite to the goal of the Japanese research, and the ultimate aim of sustainable whaling on a commercial basis (which is also what the IWC was established to achieve).

    Those whale species that can’t possibly sustain a commercial harvest in the near term (e.g. blue whale) remain entirely protected. The species of interest are those that are abundant (minke) or recovering robustly from past over-exploitation (fin, humpback).

    Whales reproduce just like other species, it should not be incomprehensible to anybody that they are susceptible to natural increases in number. Even blue whales are increasing in number. But the whalers agree on the need for precaution with respect to it because it remains severely depleted.

    Whaling on a sustainable basis is entirely possible. The fact that it was not conducted in that way in the past is well documented, the reasons for it are known, and the problems have been addressed.

    If you still want the whale eaters to stop inspite of this, the onus is on you to convince them of your correctness. Good luck!

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  75. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    comsumist,

    I think you have a misunderstanding about the whale meat market, so let’s clear it up first.

    The “stockpile” of whale meat does not belong to the Japanese Government.

    The Japanese Government authorizes and partially funds the research, and stipulates how the whale meat from it be disposed of in accordance with the ICRW convention (in Japan, selling the meat as food is the obvious method).

    The operators of the storage facilities around Japan that hold the whale products buy it in, just as they would do with frozen tuna, then eventually sell it on downstream through their market channels.

    The market itself is not subsidised. This should be especially clear if you consider that Iceland’s whalers went out and caught 120 fin whales last season, for the sole purpose of export to Japan, after a successful export in the previous season.

    Next, I don’t agree that Japan’s whaling program is “screwing with ecosystems”. To put things in perspective, prior to the moratorium the total Antarctic minke catch quota in the early 1980’s was between 6,000 and 8,000 (shared between Russia and Japan). Despite no signs of this being unsustainable, minke whales were then included in the 1982 moratorium anyway. Today Japan doesn’t even catch 1,000 minkes, and for the other species its signficantly smaller still.

    You suggest Japan should only use whales (or marine resources generally?) from it’s territorial waters. Why should they not use marine resources from international waters in accordance with international agreements?

    But let’s note that this is hypothetical anyway, as the anti-whaling nations have policies that are completely intolerant whaling everywhere, rather than selectively intolerant. E.g., Iceland and Norway are also criticised by New Zealand and Australia for catching whales sustainably in their own EEZs.

    You mention international fisheries. I agree, they are a mess. Just like whaling was a huge mess. But today the demand for whale oil is gone, science has caught up (see the IWC scientific committee’s Revised Management Procedure and the positive spin off that has had in other fisheries) and it’s clear to me that whaling could actually be a magnificent example of how marine resources should be managed in the face of uncertainties in the 21st century. This is another reason I want to see sustainable whaling resumed by the IWC (or another organization with the will to do so). It would shine out as an example for how other fisheries ought be managed, and also serve as an important precedent to illustrate that failures through past overexploitation do not mean we should all just give up.

    > Japan is hardly renouwned for sophisticated long term fisheries management

    If you feel that way then that’s all the more reason to argue in favour of the IWC managing whaling, once again. Japan doesn’t give a crap if you have such feelings, if they want to catch whales sustainably they are going to try to find ways to do so – with the IWC or without it.

    You said something about public opinion being turned. Maybe you heard that from Greenpeace, but the majority of Japan (and indeed the mass media) is in favour of whaling. This talk about budget measures is all just wishful thinking from Greenpeace. The amount of money spent on whaling is a tiny drop in the ocean compared with the amount of money that the Japanese government does waste on other stuff. And the public isn’t against whaling. Greenpeace however likes to tell western people lots of fibs, so that they keep their hopes high, and keep donating to them.

    > Sure, their current activities alone won’t cause whale stocks to collapse

    Glad we can accept that.

    > but the fact that it is so political and already involves subsidies indicates that were the Japanese whaling industry to achieve their end game, the outcome would be little different that the fate of international Tuna stocks

    I think the IWC would impose a moratorium again if there were any signs of that happening again (and I’d probably be at least partially in agreement with it myself).

    Why not at least give sustainable whaling a chance? You might be pleasantly surprised. With extra whale meat in supply the demand for overexploited tuna might drop somewhat, too.

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  76. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    …recovering robustly from past over-exploitation…

    They’re recovering? Awesome! Let the slaughter resume!

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  77. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    > They’re recovering? Awesome! Let the slaughter resume!

    You sound like you are taking this to the extreme. It’s not a “white” and “black” decision.

    Let’s say “black” is having so much whaling to the extent that whales are driven to extinction. Outcome: no whale food for the whale eaters, and no whales.

    Then, “white” is no whaling at all. Outcome: no whale food for the whale eaters, but lots of whales in the ocean. Sure, this is better than the “black” outcome, but not if you are planning to enjoy a juicy whale steak anytime.

    A “grey” would involve whale eaters having whale food, at the expense of some number of whales (which just happen to be a renewable resource that don’t require farming to produce). Wait… this should actually be “green”, not “grey”.

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  78. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    FYI, in Japan there are calls for Japan’s new anti-piracy laws to be revised to allow Sea Shepherd to be certified as pirates.

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  79. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    David, how much do you get paid to spread Japanese propaganda?

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  80. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    It’s not “propaganda”, ross, it’s called “the opposing point of view”.

    And since you ask, how much do you think I get paid? I will send the Japanese authorities a bill and try my luck.

    Another FYI. The ICR has confirmed that SS has abandoned the Ady Gil. And it has not sunk to the bottom of the ocean, as announced to the media by SS. The SS clowns seemingly decided that it would sink in “1 or 2 hours”, and left it to proceed with their reckless harassment of the whaling vessels. ICR photos released show that now there is oil and debris from the Ady Gil scattered throughout the Antarctic.

    So much for being an environmental protection organization.

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  81. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    You sound like you are taking this to the extreme. It’s not a “white” and “black” decision.

    No indeed. Right now they’re killing over a thousand a year and that’s not enough to threaten extinction. They aren’t interested in killing just a thousand a year though, are they? That’s just what the current agreements restrict them to.

    If these arseholes are serious about sustainability (and honestly, if someone uses the word “sustainable” with reference to Asian fishing practices, I can only assume sarcasm is intended), let them hold off until whales of different species number in the millions, not the tens of thousands, before deciding there’s carte blanche to go turning them into steaks. And if there’s a historical and cultural basis for Japanese whaling, I’m more than happy for them to kill as many whales as they like in Japanese waters. Only, there aren’t any in Japanese waters any more, which is why they’re killing them in the Antarctic – so much for “sustainability,” eh?

    The ICR has confirmed that SS has abandoned the Ady Gil.

    The propaganda team for the threatened species killers “confirms” something? If an organisation professionally devoted to dishonesty asserts something, the word “confirmed” is probably unwise.

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  82. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (852 comments) says:

    Of course it was part of the bloody script. Seashepherd do this every year. Take a film crew and try and create the biggest media exposure that they can. This year the sacrificial boat. Excellent telly.

    Its turned Milt into an armchair forensic mariner. and has given all the whale lovers a chance to expose their hypocrisy.

    Has anyone read the Charter of the International Whaling Commission? go and google it. You will get a surprise. The IWC is the worlds first genune international sustainable fisheries management regime. It is NOT a regime to prevent whaling, and it is not an organisation that gets its knickers in a twist about charismatic megafauna.

    Now a number of you have talked about other fisheries in international waters being badly overfished. Perhaps you could try this logic experiment. Why would you sign up to an international sustainable fisheries management regime, when the only example you have of one in practice has been rorted by the western countries now attempting to persuade you to sign up to a new one (eg for Tuna)?

    The Norwegians and Icelanders had the best idea, they simply exempted themselves from the moratorium and carried on whaling. The Japanese tend to pay a lot more attention to international opinion, so signed up. More fool them. Of course in 1948 the Japanese were still occupied by the US weren’t they – and had very little choice I imagine.

    For Milt and his ilk this is all being seen through a modern liberal wishy washy whales are wonderful lens.

    From a sustainable fisheries management perspective, this is not about whether killing whales is wrong, its about what is the sustainable catch. Thats what fisheries management does. Only a fool would argue that there is a shortage of Minke whales. Pretending otherwise is either foolish or simply dishonest.

    And this is where I came in, the IWC exists to manage a resource sustainably. Period, end of story. There are lots of Minkes therefore the issue is what is a reasonable catch limit.

    You are free to disagree about whether whales (or cows, goats, pigs, or dogs for that matter) should be eaten, but thats about your cultural and personal preferences, its not about sustainable fisheries management. Attacking Japanese people for eating whales, when there is no environmental consequence from a sustainable harvest, is simply xenophobic projection.

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  83. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    Shonan Maru continues its gil fishing – and finds some arrows

    http://video.aol.co.uk/video-detail/murderous-sea-shepherd-crossbow-arrows-found-near-damaged-ady-gil/562509869

    Paul Watson is a strange and dangerous man

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  84. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt,

    Japan can catch as many whales as it decides to for scientific purposes. There is no limit under the terms of the whaling convention. Japan’s government thinks 850 is a valid sample size for the kind of research they are doing with respect to the antartic minke whale populations.

    Of course, Japan would like to catch more, under typical commercial exploitation that New Zealanders partake in for pretty much any marine species except whales, which are deemed “special” in New Zealand culture. But the IWC is not doing it’s job and that’s why this whole controversy exists at all.

    There’s more than enough whales of certain species for sustainable exploitation right now. Decades of continuous minke whaling alone should make that obvious to anyone.

    And Japan *does* catch whales in Japanese waters. They want to catch them in the Antarctic as well, because, hey – there is an international whaling convention which was set up with the sustainable exploitation of the whale resources of the Antarctic in mind. And New Zealand etc have signed this document, too. Now it’s 2010, Japan adhered to the convention around 60 years ago, so if you have a complaint about it, you are a weeny bit too late.

    The video on the ICR webpage seems to be quite persuasive evidence of the Ady Gil not having sunk as proclaimed by the Sea Shepherd PR spinsters.

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