The MY Ady Gil (formerly Earthrace) was a high speed trimaran designed to circumnavigate the world in record time. It was acquired by Sea Shepherd in 2009 and participated in Operation Waltzing Matilda. On January 6, 2010, it collided with the Japanese security ship Shonan Maru No. 2, losing its nose and sinking the next day.
The vessel was designed by LOMOcean Design to break the world record for fasted motorized vessel to circumnavigate the world. It was designed to cut through waves, adding to its extreme speed. The finished product, Earthrace circumnavigated the world in sixty days in 2008, breaking the record held by the Ocean 7 Adventurer (also acquired by Sea Shepherd). In 2009, the Earthrace joined the Sea Shepherd fleet under the name Ady Gil, after the owner of the boat. Its captain was Pete Bethune, the same man who took it around the world. Captain Paul Watson stated his intent to use the vessel as a harpoon interceptor boat.
Operation Waltzing MatildaEdit
On its first deployment to assist the Steve Irwin, the Ady Gil suffered a damaged radar and was forced to return to port shortly after leaving. Engineer Larry Routledge was injured in a fall at port and was unable to continue that leg of the campaign (he returned for the second half). Veteran Sea Shepherd Jeff Hansen was also unable to continue the campaign due to sea sickness. Captain Bethune recruited two former members of the Earthrace team to replace them.
The Ady Gil first engaged the whaling fleet in an attempt to free the Steve Irwin from the its tail, the Shonan Maru No. 2. Later, on January 6, 2010, the Ady Gil assisted the Bob Barker by slowing down the whaling factory ship, the Nisshin Maru. However, it ran low on fuel and the Bob Barker could not slow down to refuel it, as it would risk loosing the Nisshin Maru. The Ady Gil was passed by multiple harpoon ships and the Bob Barker. The Shonan Maru No. 2 followed, but collided with the Ady Gil, shearing the nose of the boat off. The crew was rescued by the Bob Barker, and only one person was injured. The Bob Barker attempted to tow the Ady Gil to an Antarctic base, but the ship had taken on too much water the next day and was cut lose to sink. It was last spotted by the Shonan Maru No. 2 on January 7, 2010, half submerged.
Captain Pete Bethune sought to confront the captain of the Shonan Maru No. 2 by boarding the ship. He succeeded in doing so by riding a jet ski with Larry Routledge and jumping aboard the ship on February 15. After delivering a letter to the captain, Pete Bethune was detained and taken to Japan for trial. He received a suspended sentence and was deported to New Zealand.
Plans to replace the boat were made immediately after the collision. Bethune stated that Ady Gil had planned to raise money to repair the ship before it was cut loose. Sea Shepherd stated the possibility of building a new ship and renaming it the Ady Gil 2. In the summer of 2010, Sea Shepherd unveiled their new interceptor, the Gojira, which was the same ship that the Ady Gil had beaten in the circumnavigation race.
The circumstances surrounding the collision and sinking were immediately disputed, and are still somewhat unclear as of now. Both sides blamed each other for the collision. Sea Shepherd stated that it was expelling Pete Bethune after a bow and arrow set were found aboard the Ady Gil. They later stated that they were attempting to disassociate Bethune from the organization so he would not be punished as severely. Sea Shepherd later stated that he was not actually expelled and welcomed him back. However, Bethune was not notified of this plan, and thought that he had actually been expelled. During his trial, he stated that the actual sinking of the vessel was secretly planned by Paul Watson. Sea Shepherd responded by saying Bethune was lying in order to receive a lesser sentence. Paul Watson stated that he had advised Bethune not to board the Shonan Maru No. 2. The accusation led to Paul Watson being placed on Interpol's red list by Japan. Bethune resigned from Sea Shepherd and formed his own organization, Earthrace Conservation. In 2012, he sued Sea Shepherd for the loss of the vessel. In 2013, Ady Gil also sued Sea Shepherd over the loss of his vessel. In turn, Sea Shepherd sued the Institute of Cetacean Research for ramming and sinking the ship. On May 14, 2013, Bethune and Sea Shepherd settled their lawsuit with Bethune receiving $500,000 and agreeing to help Paul Watson be removed from Interpol's red list. Sea Shepherd and Bethune both expressed relief that they are finally able to move on towards the same cause.