Anti-whaling crew abandoned

Posted: 01/05/2012 in all marine news

Jane Hammond – 

A stricken Sea Shepherd vessel floundering in the Southern Ocean was abandoned by an anti-whaling ship from the same fleet because of fears a sustained rescue would have revealed the location of the second ship to Japanese whalers.

The Bob Barker was the first to respond to a distress call from the Brigitte Bardot, damaged by a rogue wave in heavy seas on Wednesday evening, 2400km south-west of Fremantle.

In a secret operation yesterday morning, the Bob Barker reached the Brigitte Bardot, which had been taking in water and had a large crack on its port side.

The vessel handed over supplies, fuel and material to help with makeshift repairs and then left, leaving the crew of 10 on the damaged ship to wait another 10 hours for the Sea Shepherd’s flagship, the Steve Irwin.

Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson defended the decision to abandon the Brigitte Bardot and its crew in the icy waters of the Southern Ocean, saying the group could not afford to let the Japanese fleet know where the Bob Barker was.

The Japanese have tailed the Steve Irwin since Christmas Day but the Bob Barker has eluded detection.

The damaged vessel was asked by the Australian Maritime Safety Rescue Co-ordination Centre to switch on equipment that would enable it to be tracked as part of the rescue operation, a move Capt. Watson said could have exposed the Bob Barker to a tail.

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