Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Sea Shepherd ship severely damaged by rogue wave

Steve Irwin responding to distress call from the Brigitte Bardot
January 2012. While fighting heavy seas in pursuit of the Japanese whaling fleet, the Sea Shepherd scout vessel Brigitte Bardot was struck by a rogue wave that has cracked the hull and severely damaged one of the pontoons on the vessel.
Captain Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd, is onboard the Sea Shepherd flagship Steve Irwin. Captain Shepherd reported that they are fighting heavy seas to reach the position of the Brigitte Bardot some 240 miles to the southeast. It was expected to take twenty hours to reach the damaged vessel. The Brigitte Bardot was some 1500 miles southwest of Fremantle, Western Australia.
Brigitte Bardot Captain Jonathan Miles Renecle of South Africa was pursuing the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru in six metre swells when the wave slammed into the port side of the vessel cracking the hull. The crack has been getting wider as the seas continue to pound the vessel. Captain Renecle is confident that the ship will stay afloat until the Steve Irwin arrives. The Brigitte Bardot has a crew of ten: three British, three American, one Australian, one Canadian, one Belgian and one South African.
The Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker will continue in pursuit of the whaling fleet. The Steve Irwin will assist the Brigitte Bardot, first to see to the safety of the crew, and then to escort the vessel to Fremantle for repairs.
"This is disappointing but these are hostile seas and we have always been prepared for situations like this," Said Captain Paul Watson 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."
The Steve Irwin and the Brigitte Bardot are now struggling slowly northward through another storm.

“We are watching the Brigitte Bardot very closely,” said Captain Paul Watson. “The seas are getting rougher and the winds are increasing and there is a great deal of pressure being put on the damaged pontoon of the Brigitte Bardot. It looks like we will have to struggle through these conditions for another 24 hours.”



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