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Ocean guardians - Earthrace joins Sea Shepherd to stop whale slaughter. Global community's tried but so far failed


By WcP.Story.Teller - Posted on 13 December 2009

Inset: [Left] Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd leader. [Right] Pete Bethune, skipper of Earthrace (Ady Gil). [Center] Endangered white whale, migaloo. Bottom: Japanese fisherman butchering captured whale

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Ady Gil, formerly Earthrace, joins Sea Shepherd fleet

Thanks to a $1 million donation from its namesake, US multi-millionaire Ady Gil, formerly known as Earthrace, the Ady Gil has become the latest addition to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's protest fleet. The Ady Gil will bear down on whalers at 40 knots, blaring Maori-inspired war cries through a 9000W speaker system. "They're going to think 'what the f..k have we got here?' " laughed Ady Gil's skipper Pete Bethune.

"It deflects radar signals, so it's very hard for radar systems to pick us up. It's effectively a stealth boat. Made of carbon, with carbon flecks in the paint you can have a big boat with a 20kW radar 400m away and they won't see you. In the past, the Steve Irwin has only been fast enough to keep up with the processing ship, the Nissan Maru, but not the harpooners. We can keep up with the harpoon vessels.” "The point of conflict will shift to include the harpoon vessels now, so it gives us a chance to stop the whales being harpooned." The boat holds the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe.

Earthrace (Ady Gil) is capable of up to 50 knots and will be used to block harpoon ships from illegally slaughtering whales. It's sleek, it's fast, and it's reinforced with a ton of bullet-proof Kevlar armor. The mean-looking Ady Gil is the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's newest weapon in their ongoing battle against Japanese whalers. The trimaran Earthrace recently set the world powerboat record for circumnavigation. Top right: Pete Bethune, skipper of Earthrace, to take on the Whalers. The crew of the Earthrace boat are about to embark on their most dangerous mission yet when later this year they head down towards Antarctica to protest against the Japanese Whaling operation.

For his part, Mr Gil said he had decided to back the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society rather than spend his money on a fancy new car. "The whales are definitely going to love me more when this thing is saving their lives than if I was driving a half-a-million-dollar Porsche," he said. The Ady Gil will spend more than three months chasing the Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctic waters.

Spaceage Boat, Earthrace, Joins Sea Shepherd in Fight Against Japanese Whaling in Antarctic

Almost exactly one year on from the 100% biofuel eco-boat, Earthrace, crossing the finish line in Spain on 27 June 2008, her international crew of volunteers have been officially named as world record holders by the Union International Motonautique (UIM). The worldwide governing body for powerboating have confirmed that the team did break the ten year old round the world speed record previously held by British boat, Cable & Wireless Adventurer, smashing the record by almost two weeks. The wave-piercing trimaran began the challenge from Sagunto, Spain on 27 April 2008. She traveled 23, 497 nautical miles, through the Panama and Suez Canals, with ten other refueling stops around the world. The journey, skippered by Earthrace founder, New Zealander, Pete Bethune, took 60 days 23 hours 49 mins (1,463 hours, 49 minutes) finishing back in Spain.

Call for governments to act on conventional marine fuels
Pete Bethune said, “Obviously we're over the moon. It's great to finally get the official recognition. “My goal in starting this project five years ago was to make a positive impact on the environment by increasing awareness of renewable fuels. We have shown that a marine craft using 100% biofuel can travel as fast and efficiently across the oceans as anything using conventional fuels. “It's about time governments and the global shipping industry put in as much effort as we have by funding further research into sustainable biofuel production and bringing in legislation that will ensure our oceans and seas are protected from the damage caused by conventional fuels.”

Top left: even endangered white whales get no promises to be spared from the Japanese whalers. Top right: Greenpeace activists sit in their inflatable boat after a harpoon fired from a Japanese whaling ship narrowly missed them in the Southern Ocean. Bottom: Japanese whalers carve up a minke whale.

Earthrace to join Sea Shepherd in December
At the same time as the announcement from the UIM, skipper Pete Bethune has revealed that the next stop for Earthrace will be the Antarctic ocean as the boat plans to join the Sea Shepherd organization in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in December as part of the protest against Japanese whaling fleet. New Zealander Bethune said he decided to become involved because "this is happening in my backyard and it really pisses me off. I'm going to make a stand alongside Sea Shepherd – the whaling fleet will find it hard to get away from us." He said he planned to add half a tonne of Kevlar to the vessel to toughen it against the ice. Earthrace has been built to have the endurance to go half way round the world on one tank of fuel.

Whale kill film will strengthen legal case: Govt

Australian Government says footage shot by the Customs ship the Oceanic Viking, of Japanese whalers killing a whale and its calf, will strengthen any legal case against the whalers. Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett says the pictures released today support Australia's position.

"I think it's explicitly clear from these images that this is indiscriminate killing of whales, where you have a whale and its calf killed in this way," he said. "To claim that this is in any way scientific is to continue the charade that surrounded this issue from day one.

Earthrace, wave piercer: the ship can submarine up to 23 feet underwater and runs on renewable biodiesel fuel. It has been specifically designed to perform at high-speeds in the world’s toughest ocean conditions, and will at times, submarine right through waves. Combine this with environmentally friendly biodiesel fuel, and you have one of the most awe-inspiring vessels the world will ever see. Now re-named Ady Gil, it is painted with carbon-flecked paint that he says will lower the ability of radar detection.

"This is the indiscriminate killing of a whale and its calf. It's not scientific, and these pictures make crystal clear what's actually happening in the Southern Ocean, and make crystal clear why we so strongly oppose the activities of the Japanese whalers there. The power of the camera and the release of some of this footage means that not only Australians, who care deeply about the fate of these beautiful creatures, but people right around the world, will have a better sense of what's going on down there."

"These photographs show the reality of whaling, the reality of the slaughter of these animals," Customs Minister Bob Debus said. "They will help us to back the Australian Government's argument in an international court case, the details of which are still being worked out." Mr Debus said legal action could be taken in the International Whaling Commission or the International Court of Justice.

Shocking evidence of Japanese whaling

Australia has "shocking" evidence to back a legal bid to stop Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. The evidence is a pile of "shocking images" of the annual whale hunt taken by crew aboard the armed customs patrol vessel Oceanic Viking. "We have got evidence of whaling being carried out in circumstances that we believe it should not be done," Mr Debus told reporters in Sydney today. "They will help us to back up the Australian Government's argument in an international court case, the details of which are still to be worked out, to suggest that whaling should be stopped." The Australian customs vessel has been monitoring the whaling and collecting photographs and footage of the catch since late January.

Two minke whales are hauled aboard a Japanese whaler. Japanese authorities have denied reports the two were a mother and calf. Australia has ‘shocking’ evidence to back a legal bid to stop Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean. Inset: Whale meat sold in Japan.

Commercial whaling has been banned by the IWC since 1986. Japan staunchly defends its annual killing of more than 1000 whales, which it conducts under a clause in International Whaling Commission (IWC) rules that allows whales to be killed for scientific research purposes.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO Steve Shallhorn said the Australian Government images show the world that the Japanese fleet is killing whales in a globally recognized sanctuary and does not care if they are mothers or infants. "Now that the Australian Government has its own evidence of the whale hunt, we expect this to spur them to action at the International Whaling Commission and beyond," Mr Shallhorn said. This action must be designed to "raise the stakes politically with Japan" and "engage with other governments around the world to finally put an end to whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary".

Japanese whaling fleet sets sail for Antarctica

In 2008, the Japanese fleet killed 551 minke whales in Antarctica, while in 2009 the figures jumped to a kill of 679 minke whales and one endangered fin whale. The increase in numbers has led to a glut of meat in the Japanese market; by the end of August 2009, some 5288 tons of whale meat was sitting in cold stores across Japan, a 16% rise in stockpiles compared to August of 2008.

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Photos courtesy of Sea No Evil, Earthrace, Reuters, Greenpeace, Rolf Hicker, AFP / Getty Images, superblog, Australian Customs, and BlueLivingIdeas.com / Flickr / duchamp

Original Source: NowPublic News, News.com.au, Pete Bethune, skipper of Earthrace, to take on the Whalers , Daily Mail, azocleantech.com, abc.net.au, Sydney Morning Herald, and Brisbane Times

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