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End of an Eco-Era

Jan 6th 10
By Janine Ketterer [Photo by JoAnne McArthur]

Earthrace is no more. Tragically, the eco-vessel’s bow was sliced off by a Japanese whaling ship while working in Antarctic seas with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a marine conservation group. Recently renamed Ady Gil, the vessel collided with the Shonan Maru II, resulting in serious damage. Initial reports stated that the Ady Gil had sunk. It was later reported that she was still buoyant, but had taken on a great deal of water.

The reported that none of the six crewmembers on Ady Gil were injured and all were rescued by a nearby Sea Shepherd vessel.

“The Sea Shepherd organization declared “whale war” on the Japanese fleet after the Ady Gil, a fiber-glass trimaran, which holds the world record for the fastest ever global circumnavigation, was seriously damaged in a collision with the whaling ship, Shonan Maru II,” reported the

After completing a circumnavigation on June 27, 2008, – not only breaking the previous record held by a powerboat, but also being carbon neutral, fueled only with biodiesel – Earthrace set out on a mission to help the marine environment. According to the Earthrace website they were also working to stop shark finning in the Galapagos and bluefin tuna poachers in the Med.

This is not the first disaster for Earthrace/Ady Gil. Her first attempt to circumnavigate came to an end in 2007 after bouts with pirates, mechanical malfunctions and a crash off Guatemala, which resulted in a death. Despite these incidents, Earthrace/Ady Gil pushed forward joining forces with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a non-profit organization founded by Greenpeace co-founder Paul Watson that uses direct action tactics. A fleet of several vessels, dubbed Neptune’s Navy, patrols the seas, fighting illegal whaling, fishing and seal hunting. Animal Planet has gotten behind the group, producing a television series called Whale Wars, which follows the group as they fight Japanese whalers.


Update (January 12, 2009)

The Ady Gil sank two days after the wreck while being towed.


  • I do not condone the Japanese actions, however there is a second video, which has 2 versions, taken from the Ady Gil, one has been edited to show the Ady Gil Skipper and crew in a better light. Those idiots had plenty of time to get their vessel out of danger, but they just watched and mocked as the whaler kept on coming and coming and coming and coming... Even though they were the stand on vessel, they had an obligation to keep clear... The skippers inaction almost killed his crew... The Japanese cearly messed up however in the knowledge that the Sea Sheperd boys are hardly best mates with Suzuki and Nakajima on the whaler, do you really think it was so prudent to sit there complacently and watch them sail by and exchange pleasantries !!!!
    Posted by maca 13/01/2010 07:33:51

  • I think it is time to boycott Japanese Products whereever/whenever possible until they stop killing whales for dog food. Ultimately embarressment may be the best way to stop this.
    Posted by diverdan 09/01/2010 16:18:44

  • Fiberglass Vs. Steel... the results are out... Great work those guys do trying to hamper the Japanese whaling fleet but maybe a step to far...
    Posted by Fras 08/01/2010 22:50:53

  • I find it ironic that this vessel has had such a troubled life and the Product that it was designed to promote[Bio-diesel] is an obvious non-starter as an alternative energy source.
    Also in response to Nicolaas's comment I can tell you from first hand experience as an ex-commercial fisherman and current captain of a large yacht that in fact that not all fisherman are "out to get you". The majority of commercial fisherman are good people who just want to make an honest living and be left alone, like anybody if they feel there lively hood threatened they will do something about it. It is very important that as Yachtsmen we respect the rights of local fisherman in the areas we cruise and minimize our impact on fishing equipment, for example when cruising in Maine do your best to avoid the thickest trap areas, don't tow your tender and if you do screw one do all you can to recover the buoys and retie them to the trap. I strongly condemn illegal whaling or any other illegal or unsustainable fishing activity but show some respect for the Local Guys, after-all when it comes down to it what they do[making a living/feeding people] is probably more important than what we do[leisure/travel].
    p.s. It looks like Adi Gil is in gear going forward just before the impact, not sure why they would do that.
    Posted by glenngorman 08/01/2010 18:25:36

  • I have watched the footage available from different angles and it is apparent that the Japanese are totally in the wrong here. When viewed from the opposite angle you can clearly see that the whaling ship turns to ram Earthrace/Ady Gil on purpose. Regardless of how you feel about Sea Shepherd's tactics in the past this act by the whalers is just plain wrong. I hope the international community does something about this.
    Posted by thedolan 08/01/2010 17:41:41

  • This is stupid. These Sea Shepperd vessels have on more than one occasion disregarded the rules of the road. They are a danger to the vessels and the crews of both or all vessels that are in the area. I agree with the cause that they are fighting for. However there are better and lets be honest safer ways that this point could be put across.
    Posted by AlltoSea 08/01/2010 16:59:51

  • Watching the video taken from the other side, it looks like it could be that the whaler turns to stbd into a pretty much stationary Ady Gil.
    Not much different from any other fishing boat, they are always out to get you...
    Posted by Nicolaas 08/01/2010 15:56:34

  • Good for them for believing in their cause, but I've seen the TV show. They are nuts. Someone is going to get themself killed. They are just lucky it didn't happen this time. I watched the video and it sure looks to me like the Earthrace attempted suicide. That guy Watson who founded the Sea Shepperd Society did so only after Greenpeace kicked him out for being too extreme. Too extreme for Greenpeace? Would not catch me weighing anchor with that guy. Nuts I tell ya'.
    Posted by Fifty-Meter Flavor 08/01/2010 02:30:10

  • Japanese people should eat all the zillions of pounds of whale meat they have in their freezers before they kill anymore in the name of "research." Most Japanese don't want to eat it anyway and it ends up as pet food, nice huh? Puckers.
    Posted by ablonde 07/01/2010 07:16:52

  • Oh man, that sucks...I saw it Lisbon, it was a impressive boat.
    Posted by Salvador_2 06/01/2010 23:31:07

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