Monday, January 11, 2010

Irony and the Ady Gil

You heard about this, right? The collision between the Ady Gil, that ultraspiffy, futuristic, carbon-neutral Batboat-thing that the Sea Shepherd organization is (oops, was) using as part of their campaign to harass whalers in Antarctica, and the Sh┼Źnan Maru 2, part of the Japanese whaling fleet? Been a lot of talk about it on the internet. I've watched the various videos & personally, I've got no idea who was actually at fault in the collision (I think COLREGS say that when 2 boats collide, both skippers are at fault, but I also think that's assuming that no skipper would ever actually want to hit another boat, which in the case of these Sea Shepherd folks is clearly not always the case - I'm not saying that that's what happened this time, just that historically - well, keep reading).

If I had to put money on what happened, I think I'd go with a scenario close to the one Commenter #3, Andy (not Sebago clubmate Andy, another Andy) lays out over on the Old Salt Blog. As long as betting is optional, though, I think I will just keep my money in my pocket.

Still - I will just toss out one observation that I've left on a couple of blogs -

I think it’s ironic that Sea Shepherd’s screaming about the sinking of the Ady Gil, while simultaneously selling t-shirts featuring a list of those boats that they themselves claim to have rammed or sunk.


moonstruck said...

Attempting to foul lines in a ships prop to disable it, in the antartic ocean of all places is an act of piracy.

Simply, if you play chicken long enough and often enough, the dog will eventually bite you in the butt.

bonnie said...

That's about what I was thinking, too.

doryman said...

In cases where the international body is unwilling or unable to express it's moral authority, anarchy reigns. It is our responsibility as citizens of the world to weigh in on who are the criminals. Whatever your opinion on criminality on the seas (indeed the lands)of the world, cry long and loud, because certainly, someone is guilty and some one should pay.
Whales, for us, define the limit of sentient beings. When does predatory behavior become murder? THE question of the 21st century.

bonnie said...

Greenpeace kicked Paul Watson out because he was too radical for them. He was one of their founders.

There are ways to protest without putting people at risk the way Sea Shepherd's activities clearly do.

I wonder who's been responsible for saving more aquatic mammals - Greenpeace with their commitment to less confrontational activism, or Paul Watson with his reality-tv shenanigans.

In fact I was reading about consumption of whale meat in Japan; it doesn't seem to be that popular but I was struck by one article (wish I could find it) that said that at this point, most Japanese aren't so much pro-whaling, as anti anti-whalers.

I wonder if there are spikes in the whale meat demand in Japan when one of these confrontations makes the evening news?

rhodiola rosea said...

Ady Gil 2 will already seem daunting because of one lucky break Bethune got the first time around: the two 540 horsepower Cummins Mercruiser Diesel engines were actually free. The Cummins CEO said he couldn’t sponsor the $4 million needed at the time, but instead would provide the engines, install them, and service them around-the-globe for three years.

Pandabonium said...

Australian Broadcasting Corp (in addition to, of course) has videos posted which clearly show the Ady Gil idling in the water and the Shonan Maru 2 turning hard to starboard to ram her. There is even a video take from aboard the Shonan Maru 2 which shows this.

Whatever your opinion of Sea Shepherd, this case is very clear.

bonnie said...

Turning hard starboard to ram her, or turning hard starboard to give her a good scare & then having it turn into the biggest publicity bonanza Sea Shepherd's ever had when the Ady's skipper hit the gas?

Sorry, videos still don't come equipped with a mindreading track.

That's why I say I still don't know what happened. Just that the outrage seems a little overblown coming from an organizing that boasts of their own aggressiveness.

bonnie said...

And here we are debating Paul Watson. Which I bet Paul Watson would love. And which is exactly what I think Greenpeace & a lot of quite ecologically aware people are saying is the problem with Paul Watson - his involvement somehow just redirects a lot of energy into debating Paul Watson when it might better be focused on whales.

O Docker said...

Leaving aside the issue of whether or not Watson is a pirate (personally, I think he is), I think the strongest argument Greenpeace makes is that he's creating sympathy and support for the whalers in Japan.

While the efforts of Greenpeace bring important public attention to the issue, their tactics of interfering with the actual taking of whales won't significantly reduce whaling any more than Watson's. Only public sentiment and political action in Japan will do that. Since public support of whaling seems to be declining in Japan (according to Greenpeace), Watson is only hurting the cause, not helping.

Sometimes, I think even the actions of Greenpeace are too bizarre to be helpful. Ultimately, this is a PR battle, and you can't win public support for your cause if people think you're irrational.

bonnie said...

Honestly, as a Navy brat, nuclear submarine division, I found it bizarre to be holding up Greenpeace as a model of a better way to protest. Greenpeace certainly caused plenty of headaches at Submarine Base Bangor. I wanted to run in the Dolphin Dash they sponsored because the t-shirt was really cute - Capt. Dad turned me down flat.

But in comparison to endangering people & destroying property? Well, Greenpeace suddenly looks like a model of respectability.

Anonymous said...

Both the video from the Ady Gil and the Japanese video shows Ady Gil idling in the water, but if you notice the wakes behind her you can tell Ady Gil wasn't "dead in water" as "captain" Watson claim.
And if you watch the entire Japanese video, uncut original video I mean, it confirms what the Bob Barker video hints..
That the bow of the Ady Gil raise from the water beccause she's speeding up right before impact.
It may walk like a duck, quack like a duck, and even look like a duck, but that doesn't make it a sitting duck.

bonnie said...

I do think that the Japanese video does show the Ady Gil accelerating just before impact.

But beyond that, I found it very hard to judge the relative motion of the craft from any of those videos. Zooms at inopportune moments, all shot from platforms that were in motion themselves, none more than snippets of the last few moments -

Saying that you know what happened from watching them strikes me as being a bit like writing a book review when you only read the last page of the book.

Anonymous said...

Paul Watson has devoted his entire life to the causes he belives in. Everyone else sits around debating and holding candlelit vigils while thousands of whales are being brutally killed. At some point, he got sick of politics, governments and diplomacy (which weren't working) and decided to stand up and actually DO something about it. He is readily willing to die for the whales if need be.

There are some of us in this world that believe whales are highly intelligent, sentient beings and killing them is murder. Not to mention that commercial hunting of any creature inside a sanctuary is just plain insanity. How can you expect us to sit idly by while governements spend years having talks that go nowhere? I fully support Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd and I have more respect for them and their dedication than I do for an organization like Greenpeace.

bonnie said...

Wasn't the sanctuary the result of governments spending years talking? Would there be a moratorium at all if governments hadn't spent years talking?

Politics, governments and diplomacy may be slow, frustrating & imperfect in many ways, but it seems to me that the International Whaling Commission has already saved a host of whales using those very same patient processes.

Moving slowly is not the same as going nowhere.

bonnie said...

Just ask a turtle.