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 Timesonline.co.uk 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 Timesonline.co.uk.
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.