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'Whale Wars' Star

I Didn't Sink That Boat

1/16/2013 8:40 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0116_capt_paul_watson
Paul Watson -- the animal rights activist who stars on "Whale Wars" -- tells TMZ he's been FALSELY accused of sinking the famous Ady Gil anti-whaling ship ... and is now pointing the finger at the ship's captain.

We broke the story ... Watson is being sued by the ship's namesake Ady Gil -- who claims he owned the vessel and leased it to Watson's Sea Shepherd organization. In his suit, Gil says the ship suffered minor damage in a fender bender with a Japanese whaling ship in 2010 and could have been repaired -- but Watson secretly had the ship destroyed so he could blame the whalers and gain publicity for his animal rights group.

But, in a statement to TMZ, Watson denies ANY wrongdoing and says ... "It seems like Ady Gil is simply frustrated that he could not get justice from the Japanese whalers who did sink his boat and has decided to lash out at us [Watson and the Sea Shepherd Org.] instead."

Watson claims the person who should REALLY get the blame for the crash is the ship's captain -- Peter Bethune -- who "negligently stopped his ship in the path of the whaling vessel and it was cut in half."

Watson says there is video of the crash that backs up his story.



Watson adds, "Peter Bethune was never under my command and I did not give him any order and I certainly did not order him to destroy his own ship." Watson says he was 250 miles away from the boat at the time of the crash.

Watson says Bethune eventually made the decision to abandon the vessel in the open water because the damage was so extreme, he couldn't tow it to port for repairs.

Bottom line -- Watson says he shouldn't be held responsible for the fate of the boat because "the Ady Gil was not a Sea Shepherd ship and was not under my command."

Check out Watson's entire statement after the jump.



Response from Captain Paul Watson to the Ady Gil Lawsuit
 
This lawsuit filed by Ady Gil is somewhat mystifying. It seems like Ady Gil is simply frustrated that he could not get justice from the Japanese whalers who did sink his boat and has decided to lash out at us instead.
 
His timing is also mystifying in that he waited three years and filed this suit just as we arrived in the Sanctuary this year to protect the whales. He also waited until we were battling an injunction by the U.S. Courts filed by Japan at the same time I have been made a fugitive based on accusations by his skipper Pete Bethune.
 
I really don’t have the time to deal with Mr. Gil’s strange lawsuit until after we have chased the whalers from the Southern Ocean this year, but when we do get around to answering him, I am sure our lawyers will have little trouble dismissing this suit as petty and frivolous.
 
The Ady Gil was owned by Ady Gil and skippered by Peter Bethune. Ady Gil bought the vessel from Bethune and hired him to be the skipper of the vessel. Pete Bethune selected his own crew. They were not Sea Shepherd crew except for one Sea Shepherd member on board as a liaison. Peter Bethune was never under my command and I did not give him any order and I certainly did not order him to destroy his own ship.
 
One only needs to watch the video to see that Bethune negligently stopped his ship in the path of the whaling vessel and it was cut in half. New Zealand Maritime Safety investigated the collision and their report clearly states that the loss of the Ady Gil was caused by 50% negligence by Pete Bethune and 50% negligence by the Japanese whalers.
 
That is the result of the official investigation which contradicts these allegations by Gil.
 
I was 250 miles away at the time of the incident.
 
The Ady Gil was cut in two and unsalvageable. Despite this the crew of the Bob Barker not only saved the lives of the Ady Gil crew they thought they might be able to tow it to the French Research base in Antarctica. Towing it back 2000 miles to New Zealand was impossible. The Bob Barker towed it for 35 hours and it was like towing an open bucket through the water. They could not make any progress and with a storm on the horizon the waterlogged halfsunk Ady Gil would soon become a hazard to the Bob Barker.
 
Finally the Captain of the Bob Barker called me as asked what to do. This conversation was recorded for the program Whale Wars. I said, “It is Pete’s boat and thus Pete’s decision.”
 
Pete Bethune made the decision to abandon the vessel and Australian Maritime Safety was informed of the fact because it would be a navigational hazard. The vessel was not sunk, it was abandoned and the decision to abandon it was made by Pete Bethune.
 
Proof of this is that the Japanese crew on the Shonan Maru No. 2 came across the floating half sunk hulk of the Ady Gil the next day.
 
Pete Bethune had a phone call with the designer of the boat who gave him the opinion that the vessel could not be salvaged. And he was right. The vessel was cut clean in half and her engines flooded. I did ask Bethune if he wanted the Bob Barker crew to salvage the engines for him and he told me that they could not be salvaged.  The vessel was not repairable and considering the remote position of the vessel, it was unrealistic to expect it could be towed, especially since there was 200 miles of ice between the ships and the French Research Station.
 
We were never in a position to take care of the boat. That responsibility was in the hands of Pete Bethune who worked for Ady Gil, not Sea Shepherd.
 
Pete Bethune boarded the whaling vessel that destroyed his ship to confront the Japanese captain. He was arrested and brought back to Japan where he made a deal. By accusing me of ordering him to board the whaling ship he received a suspended sentence and the Japanese charged me instead. However as the video evidence shows clearly, I advised Bethune not to board the whaler. He answered that by saying he would take full responsibility for his actions. It appears he had a change of mind.
 
So to sum up, the Ady Gil was not a Sea Shepherd ship and not under my command. It was owned by Ady Gil and under the command of Pete Bethune. As her captain it was his responsibility to look to the safety and security of his ship. As I was not in command of the Ady Gil I had no part in any decision regarding navigation or operations of the vessel and I made no decision to abandon the vessel.
 
Ady Gil may have the money and the time to waste on this frivolous lawsuit but we really have much more important priorities, the first of which is to stop the Japanese whaling fleet from illegally killing whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
 
Ady Gil paid Pete Bethune a million dollars for the vessel and now he wants us to give him five million dollars. Unfortunately for him he does not have the evidence to back up these unsubstantiated allegations. We on the other hand videotaped everything.
 
But the question must be asked: Did Ady Gil send his boat down to the Southern Ocean to support Sea Shepherd’s campaign to save the lives of the whales or was it just to have his name on a boat that would be in a TV show?  Personally I did not get the impression that Mr. Gil was that concerned about the whales. When his name was painted on the boat originally, he told Bethune’s crew to remove it and put it back on in larger letters.
138 COMMENTS

No Avatar
31.

If sense were common everyone would have it.    

F***ing whalers. Hope they all die slow, horrific screaming deaths.

591 days ago
32.

Tundraview    

Pete Bethune and Ady Gil are the true fame whores....neither one of them truly cares about the Earth and the Environment! Ady Gil even posed for pictures admiring the Faroe's whale killing knives! They are both pervy old horndogs who pay young girls to have sex with them!

591 days ago
33.

Tom    

It was Pete's mistake, and his call to leave his boat behind. He has to man up and stop his crying like a child. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXCfOhhUjIQ&feature=youtube_gdata_player

591 days ago
34.

Kangaroo Dundee    

repeatedly referred to the Ady Gil as "our ship" now he says it was never a Sea Shepherd ship? On whale wars Paul said Pete was "a bit of a cowboy but he knew how to take orders". Sea Shepherd was collecting donations to replace "their" ship. Bob Brown just did an interview on tv and referenced the Japanese sinking "our ship the Ady Gil". Sea Shepherd News Friday, 08 January 2010 19:03 The Busy Little Japanese Kiwi Office of Absurd Propaganda After suffering the total loss of our ship the Ady Gil, Glen Inwood, the public relations mouthpiece for the Japanese whaling industry, issued a very bizarre media release.

591 days ago
35.

Ross     

You People have no idea.
Pete Bethune is an incompetent idiot and a total traitor. At the time of impact Bethune was not at the helm of the vessel but jeering and gesturing the japanese vessel. The proof in favour of Captain Paul Watson is right there on the whale wars tv show.
I have had the previlegde of meeting Paul Watson and he is an amazing man. He has sacrificed a great deal in order to stand against the forces of corruption and greed which see our oceans most vital inhabitants slaughtrered in the name of profit.
Sea Shepherd will end whaling in the antarctic and it takes dedicated and passionate individuals like Paul Watson to stand up and force change.
In my opinion you are either part of the problem or part of the solution and the majority of you would not willingly suffer any personal loss to stand up for what is right as sscs crew and members do.
You are part of the problem!

591 days ago
36.

Martin_upshaw    

I see that one of the comments accuses Captain Paul Watson of sinking the Rainbow Warrior and blaming the French. That sounds as credible as Ady Gil’s ridiculous accusations about Captain Watson destroying the Ady Gil for publicity. It is probably all true however because I heard Captain Watson was also on the grassy knoll the day Kennedy was shot and he was seen grabbing the wheel of the Costa Concordia and running that ship into the rocks in Italy

I have only one question about all this: How many whales has Ady Gil saved?

591 days ago
37.

Deanna Young    

I see that one of the comments accuses Captain Paul Watson of sinking the Rainbow Warrior and blaming the French. That sounds as credible as Ady Gil’s ridiculous accusations about Captain Watson destroying the Ady Gil for publicity. It is probably all true however because I heard Captain Watson was also on the grassy knoll the day Kennedy was shot and he was seen grabbing the wheel of the Costa Concordia and running that ship into the rocks in Italy

I have only one question about all this: How many whales has Ady Gil saved?

591 days ago
38.

Terry     

I want to know when is Pete going to save some animals as he has set up and environmental organisation but has not done any thing to save our oceans

591 days ago
39.

DaveT    

Two disappointing pieces of news in the last 10 years was that Hillary Clinton and Paul Watson were actually lying and didn't get shot

591 days ago
40.

Kangaroo Dundee    

Anybody notice the exact same words coming from multiple posters? Looks like Paul is sending members of his super secret fb club to shout down his critics again. It's just like the polls they overwhelm. Vote, clear cookies, vote again......

591 days ago
41.

Martin_upshaw    

Can anyone tell me what Pete Bethune and Ady Gil has done for the Environment, from what I gather NOTHING other than drinking with the Faroese whalers, they both have done nothing for the dolphins in Taiji, Japan,
What Pete Bethune has done is cooperate with the Japanese to plea bargain a deal to get off easy, while on video he said he will deal with the consequences in Japan, what a liar Pete you're a >>PETE YOU'RE A TRAITOR OF THE HIGHEST DEGREE.<<
All the conversation about the sinking of the Ady Gil, HAS BEEN CAPTURED ON TAPE, AND ALL I HAVE TO SAY PETE AND SUGAR DADDY GIL YOU'RE BOTH LIARS.

591 days ago
42.

Boo Radley     

I see that one of the comments accuses Captain Paul Watson of sinking the Rainbow Warrior and blaming the French. That sounds as credible as Ady Gil’s ridiculous accusations about Captain Watson destroying the Ady Gil for publicity. It is probably all true however because I heard Captain Watson was also on the grassy knoll the day Kennedy was shot and he was seen grabbing the wheel of the Costa Concordia and running that ship into the rocks in Italy

I have only one question about all this: How many whales has Ady Gil saved?

591 days ago
43.

stephen hambrick    

Anyone out there with a brain ? The video footage speaks for itself. Pete B. scuttled the boat and made the decision to do so. Now he wants to cry foul and blame Captain Watson. So tell me all of you out there so quick to judge the Captain,WTF have you done in the name of conservation. What has Mr. Bethune done ? Not one thing except parade around in military gear and telling the world about his supposed "Black Ops" in Africa that is total BS. All I see here are trolls attacking a man and an organization that actually gets off their asses and saves Cetaceans.

591 days ago
44.

Dr Samuel Weiscrak    

LMAO @ the stupid hippie comments, first and foremost "Boo Bradley"...

+1 Shonan Maru #2, Bye Bye Ady Gil - NEXT!!!

591 days ago
45.

AnimuX    

In 1975 Paul Watson along with Robert Hunter as members of the original Greenpeace Foundation took on the Soviet whalers in the North Pacific -- the first action of its kind. They used themselves as human shields steering between the gunners and the whales.

Ever since, Watson has gone out to sea -- often with no funding to speak of and rag tag crews of volunteers. He has gone after pirate whalers (poachers), Icelandic whalers, Norwegian whalers, even on to Siberia to discover the Soviets feeding whale meat from a supposedly 'aboriginal subsistence' hunt to a commercial mink farm. So, of course, Watson has gone after Japan's whale poaching in the Southern Ocean too.

Whale Wars has taken the "Save the Whales" movement out of obscurity and put it back in the living rooms of people all over the world.

Watson may be controversial, but he is dedicated to this cause -- and the overall cause to spare the oceans from destructive practices in general.

In my opinion, Ady Gil thought he could buy Sea Shepherd with a boat and Pete Bethune thought he was owed something special -- namely lots of money. They both seem to want money from Sea Shepherd as part of some personal vendetta against Paul Watson.

Well, they don't have over 30 years of radical protest and activism under their belts and as far as I'm concerned they have absolutely no credibility. Watson is right about one thing, the responsible party for the destruction of the Ady Gil is the Japanese whaling boat that rammed her.

That, and maybe Bethune shouldn't have stated ON CAMERA that the boat couldn't be saved before they cut it loose -- only to later change his story later to implicate Watson with a cash pay off in mind.

591 days ago
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