Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Back In The Ring

Anti-whaling ship Brigitte Bardot is back in the water again, after its lengthy repairs have been declared successful.
You'll recall the Sea Shepherd boat was escorted into the Fremantle Port in January after its port side pontoon was cracked in rough seas, about 370km off Fremantle during Operation Divine Wind (the 2011-2012 anti-whaling campaign). An immediate return to port was necessary for the safety of ship and crew. A few weeks prior, in the middle of the night, the hull cracked under the weight of a 40ft falling wave. The repairs
cost over $250,000.
Once the Bardot arrives at the Seaworks dock in Williamstown, Victoria tomorrow (Anzac Day), it would begin preparing for Sea Shepherd's new anti-shark finning campaign in the South Pacific this Australian winter.
I do have doubts though about vessels of this type venturing forth into the southern oceans. We've seen one (Ady Gil) nearly cut in half by a solid steel vessel, the other sustaining serious structural damage from a rogue wave. Yes, Brigitte Bardot is very sleek and fast (with a top speed of 27kts/50 km/h and a cruising speed of 22kts/40.7km/h) and, in the right conditions, is ideal for tracking down the Japanese whaling fleet's factory ship Nisshin Maru. But how often do sailors get "the right conditions" around Antarctica? Given that angry whalers and violent storms are very real threats to any Antarctic campaign by SS, might it not be better to invest in a steel ship of ice-proof strength with the speed to outpace a whaling ship: surely there must be one on the market?
A greyhound like this may look good in media shots but is it really the best option down there?

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