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'Whale Wars' Star

I Didn't Sink That Boat

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

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.

No Avatar

Anita Walsh    

I honestly believe that Captain Watson truly does not have time for this kind of thing, and would not jeopardise his mission on such sabotage.

643 days ago

Dmitry of NZ    

I am amazed at some of the commenters here hurling slurs and insults.
At least he's doing something, namely fronting up to the 3rd most powerful country in the world year after year, this time with 4 ships, a helicopter, 150 crew and 6th season on a major TV network. All is to save quite a few whales and bankrupt its fake "Institute" of Cetacean Slaughter, not to mention confronting marine poachers elsewhere.
What are, many of the commenters here, doing apart from hurling excrement like aggravated chimps?
At least have some respect for someone who has the ability to master resources and manpower to do what he said he wants to do. Do you have the balls to achieve the same?
Watson says vs. Bethune says vs. Ady Gil says is nothing but talk and we weren't there. So is the shooting incident, it's long overdue for someone privvy to it to surface if it was all staged. What matters, if we do care about the whales, is who's doing what to help them. Watson certainly does, Pete perhaps does too mentally, and Ady with his lawyers is helping out the Japanese.
And, if any of you don't care about the whales, why are you here in the first place?
Watson is certainly no angel, but he ain't worse than Stalin, and it wasn't Churchill or Eisenhower who took Berlin.

643 days ago


oh hear we go.. another bunch of armchair generation idiots, hiding behind your computers criticising someone who gives a ****.. If you all watch the show you will see that Paul was not in charge of that vessel. Pete Bafoon acted on his own accord. and if you people got off you arses and had any courage at all to try to help save our planet your comments would be warranted. If it wasnt for people like Paul and SSCS there will be nothing left in our oceans for the next generations to enjoy.

643 days ago

Ivan in Phoenix    

Anyone can see the Ady Gil was sitting still in the water until the whaling boat was about even with it and the Ady hit the gas and plowed into the whaling boat. They probably hoped the whaling boat would veer to the left, but it didn't, and the Ady ended up smashing itself into the side of the whaling boat.

642 days ago


You have to love the fact that half the viewers watched the show hoping to see the Japanese sink the annoying little sh-ts :D

642 days ago


Wow. You people who knock Paul Watson sound like you want dead Oceans, or why are you backing people like Bethune and Gil? The proof is on film. If you support people who would damage an operation to save the World's Whales, you may as well be sat behind the harpoons yourselves.

642 days ago


Ady Gil says the ship suffered MINOR DAMAGE!! I’m a little confused here… Because the “minor damage” I saw was THE FREAKING BOAT WAS CUT IN HALF!! I kept hoping that I was going to read somewhere that this is an April Fools Article done just a few months early!!

I do not have a clue what Ady is talking about… or what type of medication it is that he is taking that sees a boat that is cut in HALF due to the poor maneuvering of its captain, Peter Bethune. Well actually in this case of NO maneuvering of the boat.

Before I EVER became involved or looked up ANYTHING about SSCS or Captain Paul Watson … I like many others watched Whale Wars. When Pete Bethune came on I immediately didn’t like him. He just put off the feeling to me that he was not there for the reasons everyone else was there. Which was the HONESTY and the RAW PASSION, LOVE and COMMITMENT to see the END of the whales being slaughtered in a whale sanctuary! I felt Pete was there to “show boat”… To get his 15 min of fame. Which is the same exact reason he HIMSELF… and ONLY HIM decided to sink the boat with minor damage AKA CUT CLEAR IN TWO…. That was all on Pete!!! PERIOD!!! AS was his decision AND HIS own PERSONAL choice to board the Japanese ship to “confront” the Captain for the TOTAL DESTRUCTION of the Ady Gil! Show boating, showing off whatever you want to call it…. but call it whatever you want to as long as the blame goes to who is responsible for this and that was PETE BETHUNE… and PETE BETHUNE alone!!

It really saddens me to NO end because Ady Gil and Pete “claim” to care deeply for our oceans… for the life in our oceans… And regardless how anyone feels about anyone… if they truly cared for the oceans as they say they do… This wouldn’t even be an issue!!

The money for that boat is nothing but pocket change to Ady Gil. Like Captain Paul Watson or NOT… no one can deny the fact that Paul is responsible for thousands and thousands of people KNOWING about the whale slaughtering, the grinds in the Faroe Islands, the seal slaughters and after Ric Barry alerted the world to what is happening in Taiji, Japan …. Paul is responsible for adding to the amount of people that know about Taiji, Japan…. AND helping to add to the number of people that go to Taiji, Japan to help keep the world informed on what horrible slaughters happening there.

So Ady Gil and Pete Bethune are taking money away from the oceans… they are taking money and time away from so many things that are in place to try to stop all these things going on in our oceans. AND BECAUSE OF THEIR ACTIONS…. I REALLY question their true motivation behind all of this!! Because if they truly love the oceans… truly love the life in the oceans, why would they do something to hurt a BIG player in trying to end all of the injustices going on in our oceans.


642 days ago


Pete Bethune, you coat tail ride on Sea Shepherds organisation YOU have done NOTHING for the whales or dolphins, you're Earthrace organisation is a JOKE, asking for hand outs where ever you go. asking for people to put you up in their house, because you've got no job, wich wants me to ask you where your donation are going?
You have done NOTHING and neither did your Sugar Daddy Gil. If I was you I would be embarrassed to show my face anywhere.

642 days ago

Poerava Tahiti     

I support SEA SHEPHERD AND CREW 100% in all they do, they are the ONLY ONES out there doing something about it while most sit in the comforts of their homes and pc judging a man and crew for their selfless efforts, meaning Paul Watson and crew(s) walk their talks. Glad they are out there saving the ocean=our oxygen which humanity seem to miss the bigger factor in that alone! I am shocked at the majority that are the haters, that have not a clue where most of their oxygen/air they take in their lungs 24/7 come from?! That is always the bigger picture I look at the environment. Eco system for me that is on how I view it. When I see them,, out there putting their lives at risk being selfless humans working 24/7 for humanity as a whole, I am grateful to them all for it.. I think about the future generation of children what kind of tab with they pic up for our actions of the present in their future. I thank SSCS for thinking about the future children of the globe, I am grateful SSCS are teaching little children what is truly important about the Eco system of the ocean and its inhabitants. I am not here to bash anyone. I feel at this point that it is not going to help the ocean and its inhabitants is whats important, that the whales don't go extinct . As far Pete and Ady ,,,It seems to me, the closer Paul Watson and crew is to meet the Nisshin Maru to save whales from being killed saving our ocean=oxygen which is so vital to humans survival on earth btw. Since Paul Watson announced he was on his way to Antarctica with all ships and crew the more Pete and Ady are appearing in the news and many blogs lately more then usual? Is it for their own publicity and self gain with this? I have no idea! ?! But have my own opinions on it, and will keep it to self . I wonder why all of a sudden Ady and Pete are getting more attention when SSCS are waiting for the Nisshin Maru currently? My question is this to Ady and Pete, are you planning on going to Antarctica to save the whales along side of SSCS?!

642 days ago

Poerava Tahiti     

In mean while, while this ridiculous debate is going on...Japan is killing cetaceans EVERYDAY current in Taiji Japan killing thousands of small whales and dolphins at the BLOOD COVE . Pls check this blog out and put it on your media so the world can see what else Japan is up , well besides the Nisshin Maru on its way to kill big whales in the Antarctic! TMZ here is one of the fb blogs reports daily current /MartynStewart.Recordist

642 days ago

Poerava Tahiti     


642 days ago

Poerava Tahiti     


642 days ago

Sea Shepherd John    

Look folks, the governments and people of the world have had a long time to stop the blatantly illegal actions of the Japanese, the shark finners, the seal clubbers, etc... Govts don't act, Greenpeace is impotent, people are apathetic... ocean mammals are feeling creatures and literally smarter than most humans... Sea Shepherd doesn't give a crap about public opinion, does not physically hurt anybody, and will do WHATEVER is necessary to STOP the killings.... Long Live Sea Shepherd, Long Live the Oceans!

642 days ago

Sea Shepherd John    

WHO are the criminals?

642 days ago


If you watched the show it clearly shows Paul Watson was not at fault on any of this. Paul Bethune made all decisions regarding the Ady Gil and I do not see how Sea Shephard or Paul Watson can be held accountable.

642 days ago
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