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Sea Shepherd vessel Ady Gil has bow sheared off after being struck by Japanese whaling ship

January 6, 2010 |  7:00 am

he Sea Shepherd's ship Ady Gil (foreground) after it was rammed by Japanese whaling vessel Shonan Maru 2 (background) in Antarctic waters.

The clash between the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Japanese whalers turned ugly today after one of the conservation group's vessels was struck by a whaling ship and severely damaged.

ANTARCTICA_WHALING_Burn The Sea Shepherd's new trimaran Ady Gil had its bow sheared off and was taking on water after it was rammed by the Japanese vessel Shonan Maru 2, which has been tailing the Sea Shepherd flagship boat Steve Irwin since it left port en route to Antarctic waters to try to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt.

Sea Shepherd reports on its website that six crew members on the Ady Gil -- five from New Zealand and one from the Netherlands -- were immediately rescued by the crew of another Sea Shepherd ship, Bob Barker, which arrived on scene Tuesday.

They added that while none of those aboard Ady Gil were injured, the damage to the vessel is catastrophic and that it's unlikely that it can be salvaged.

The conservation group states that this "unprovoked attack" has been captured on film -- Animal Planet has a film crew onboard the Steve Irwin, shooting footage for the third season of the popular "Whale Wars" series.

Thankfully, nobody was killed, but this serious clash may be a portent. This was the most severe encounter between the two interests, and they have not yet even reached Japan's fleet of harpoon and processing vessels.

--Kelly Burgess

Photo: Sea Shepherd's trimaraan Ady Gil after it was rammed by the Japanese whaling vessel Shonan Maru 2, in the background, in Antarctic waters. Credit: JoAnn McArthur / Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

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