Anti-whaling protest ship in Southern Ocean distress

Posted: 12/29/2011 in all marine news

Michael Perry –

Anti-whaling organization Sea Shepherd said one of its boats chasing the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean had issued a distress call after its hull was cracked by a rogue wave.

Sea Shepherd flagship the Steve Irwin was fighting heavy seas to help rescue the damaged Brigitte Bardot chase boat and is expected to take 17 hours to reach it, Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson said Thursday.

“This is disappointing, but these are hostile seas and we have always been prepared for situations like this,” said Watson via satellite telephone 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.”

Watson said the damaged boat would be returned to Australia, while a third vessel continues to chase the Japanese fleet.

The “Brigitte Bardot,” with a crew of 10 (three British, three American, one Australian, one Canadian, one Belgian and one South African), is about 1,500 miles southwest of the west Australian port of Fremantle.

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