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New Ady Gil footage backs up Sea Shepherd's claims

Saturday 9 Jan 2010 5:15 p.m.

By Kate Lynch

New footage has emerged from on board the protest vessel Ady Gil, just moments before it was hit by the Japanese security ship Shonan Maru 2.

The footage appears to back up the claims of New Zealand skipper Pete Bethune, who said they were low on fuel and idling when the boat was demolished.

"This will do us anyway," Capt Bethune is heard saying. "We've got to save our fuel, eh. Reach in and tell them to stop now."

Those were the orders that were to spell the end for his beloved vessel.

The new footage shows the crew on board the idling vessel sitting back and congratulating each other, after a hard day's work harassing the Japanese whalers.

"F**king good effort guys," says Capt Bethune. "Awesome effort, it's been a good day. Pity we don't have a couple thousand more litres of fuel to go chucking at them."

Another crew member asks, "Do you reckon we slowed them down a bit?"

"Don't know," comes the reply. "Yeah, we slowed them down for sure - we were zigzagging the whole time."

The Shonan Maru then sounds an alarm, and the crew notice it heading toward them. They thought it was going to pass by, and instead it did an abrupt turn and headed straight for them at full speed. This is where this footage ends, but by now most people have seen what happened next from shots released by both the anti-whalers and the Japanese.

The Sea Shepherd crew say the new footage is authentic, and clearly vindicates them.

"Pete Bethune tried his best to get to the controls and back down, but he couldn't do it quickly enough," says fellow Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson. "I think the Japanese were intent upon destroying the Ady Gil."

Capt Watson is disgusted Foreign Minister Murray McCully has accused them of attempted murder on the high seas.

"That's ridiculous. We've been down here for six years. We've never broken a law, we've never been charged with a violation, we've never injured anybody. Our intent is to come here and save whales, not to kill people. And for Murray McCully, he should either apologise or resign his position, because he's taking the side of the Japanese against New Zealand citizens and a New Zealand vessel."

Veteran maritime accident investigator Jim Varney has now seen all the footage supplied from both sides. He still believes both sides were at fault, and this was a game of chicken that went wrong.

"They are being provocative," he says of the Ady Gil. "The Japanese are also being provocative in trying to see which one gives way first."

It was always going to be the Ady Gil which came off second best, and new video has been released of the vessel as it took on water while being towed to dry land. It eventually sank, but there is already talk of a replacement being built to take its place.

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