Nov. 17, 2010– Maritime New Zealand Investigation report: Ady Gil and Shonan Maru No. 2 – Collision on January 6, 2010.

The report, which is thorough and assigns equal blame, reflects the findings of the New Zealand government’s maritime authority. Here at Global Animal, we saw the footage of the collision differently (hint: size matters). The assessment pertains to international maritime law and as such, doesn’t factor in the swelling of anti-whaling sentiment, both in New Zealand and worldwide. As for moral authority, or at least quality of intention, perhaps that rests with those who go to protect the whales in this international sanctuary and not those there to slaughter under the conceit of “research.”  Tell us what you think. – Global Animal

Both captains were repsonsible for “contributing to and failing to respond appropriately to the close quarters” that led to the collision between the Ady Gil and Shonan Maru No. 2  on January 6, 2010, according to a report released today from Maritime New Zealand. The report concluded that this goes against established international maritime anti-collision rules and expected standards of good seamanship.

The Director of MNZ, Catherine Taylor, said its report into the collision between the whaling protest vessel and the Japanese whaling ship found no evidence that either captain had deliberately caused the collision. The collision, which occurred in international waters about 165 nautical miles north of Antarctica, resulted in 3.5m of the Ady Gil’s bow being sheared off. Some Ady Gil crew members also sustained injuries.

The report said the master of the Shonan Maru No. 2 initially had responsibility for keeping his vessel clear of the Ady Gil, due to its position as the overtaking vessel. He had ample opportunity to avoid the close quarters situation that subsequently developed, but failed to do so.

However, once the close quarters situation became apparent, the master of the Ady Gil failed to respond by taking appropriate evasive action – choosing instead to maintain his course and speed, which allowed the close quarters situation to develop into a collision risk, according to the report.

“This accident is a wake-up call to all vessel masters, no matter whether they’re operating in the Southern Ocean or the Hauraki Gulf, that they are ultimately responsible for the safety of their vessels and all on board. This means consistently following internationally recognised safe seafaring practice, which includes maintaining a proper lookout at all times and following established anti-collision regulations.”

Ms Taylor said previous encounters between whaling and protest vessels had contributed to a tense operating environment and probable uncertainty over each others’ intentions, but this was no excuse.

Ms Taylor said preparation of MNZ’s report had involved analyzing a significant amount of information, including technical data from both vessels, interviews with witnesses, and 25 hours of video footage. It had been drafted with input from MNZ’s own team of master mariners, and independently reviewed by an external maritime expert. All parties involved had cooperated with MNZ’s investigation, she said.

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