Sea Shepherd Vessel Severely Damaged and in Distress

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December 30, 2011

I admit that car racing, whether NASCAR or Formula 1 is a very technical and demanding sport, I mostly watched only to see the wrecks that occurred during a race. Along the same lines, while I am against the Japanese whaling operations, I am not exactly for Sea Shepherd and their antics. but I love to follow their operations, simply to see the carnage. It is like a huge version of ‘bumper cars’ held in the Southern Ocean.

News is coming out from Sea Shepherd that their high speed vessel, the BRIGITTE BARDOT (ex Gojira) has been damaged by a rogue wave:

Sea Shepherd Ship Severely Damaged by Rogue Wave
Steve Irwin Responding to Distress Call from the Brigitte Bardot

While fighting heavy seas in pursuit of the Japanese whaling fleet, the Sea Shepherd scout vessel Brigitte Bardot was struck by a rogue wave that has cracked the hull and severely damaged one of the pontoons on the vessel.

Captain Paul Watson, onboard the Sea Shepherd flagship Steve Irwin, reports that they are fighting heavy seas to reach the position of the Brigitte Bardot some 240 miles to the southeast. It is expected to take twenty hours to reach the damaged vessel.

The Brigitte Bardot is at 51 degrees 42 minutes South and 99 Degrees 21 minutes East, or 1500 miles southwest of Fremantle, Western Australia.

Brigitte Bardot Captain Jonathan Miles Renecle of South Africa was pursuing the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru in six meter swells when the wave slammed into the port side of the vessel cracking the hull. The crack has been getting wider as the seas continue to pound the vessel.

Captain Renecle is confident that the ship will stay afloat until the Steve Irwin arrives. The Brigitte Bardot has a crew of ten: three British, three American, one Australian, one Canadian, one Belgian and one South African.

The Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker will continue in pursuit of the whaling fleet. The Steve Irwin will assist the Brigitte Bardot, first to see to the safety of the crew, and then to escort the vessel to Fremantle for repairs.

“This is disappointing but these are hostile seas and we have always been prepared for situations like this,” Said Captain Paul Watson from the Steve Irwin. “Right now the safety of my crew on the Brigitte Bardot is our priority and we intend to reach the crew and then do what we can to save our ship.” – Sea Shepherd Website

It seems that the vessel is in serious trouble in a very remote location. Worse, given the remote location, the only vessels available to come to the rescue is another Sea Shepherd vessel, the STEVE IRWIN. this will put two vessels out of action. However, this is much better than being down there alone.

Other than waiting to see the fate of this vessel, I guess the only thing left to say is that this vessel was completely not suited for the environment that Sea Shepherd was operating in and it was only a matter of time before it because a casualty.

Guess they must be getting great footage for the next season. I look forward to seeing if the Japanese have come up with any good countermeasures to keep the Sea Shepherds at bay. I’m guessing that they have new tactics. Otherwise they would be setting themselves up for another defeat like last season.

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