Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Whale Wars: The Cavalry Arrives

surprise arrival, the Bob BarkerPerhaps it looked as if another whaling nation had sent reinforcements to the Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean. The 1,200-ton Norwegian-built Antarctic harpoon vessel Bob Barker has met the Japanese whaling fleet at Commonwealth Bay off the Adelie Coast of Antarctica. But the whalers would've been disappointed as the Norwegian flag was replaced by that of Sea Shepherd - announcing the arrival of the latest addition to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary defence fleet.
Thanks to a $5-million contribution from American tv personality Bob Barker, Sea Shepherd quietly bought and refitted the former Norwegian whaler in Africa. The ice-strengthened fast chaser boat is a surprise reinforcement for the Sea Shepherd ships Steve Irwin and Ady Gil.
For the first time ever, Sea Shepherd now has three ships on the Japanese fleet, each with unique abilities. The long-range fast ice class Bob Barker will be lead pit-bull, able to stay on station for three solid months without refueling. Steve Irwin will carry the campaign helicopter, coordinate all flight activities, and block loading operations on Nisshin Maru, the factory ship. Ady Gil, with twice the speed of the Japanese harpoon vessels, will intercept the fast chaser vessels to block their hunting activities.
A dramatic frame taken from BBC news story: Ady Gil is rammed and severely damagedPS: 07 Jan.2010 - In a stunning escalation, the Japanese security vessel Shonan Maru 2 has rammed Ady Gil, slicing the bow off, making the trimaran unseaworthy and injuring a crew member! In the film footage, the ramming looks deliberate! Paul Watson, captain of Steve Irwin, says: "This is a war to save the whales and it just got a lot uglier."

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