Whaling Protesters Deliberately Sank Own Boat

Its skipper says sinking was done for public sympathy
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2010 2:00 AM CDT
Activists of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society aboard the anti-whaling group's vessel Ady Gil aim a projectile launcher during their encounter with the Japanese whaling ship Nisshin Maru.   (AP Photo/Institute of Cetacean Research)
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(Newser) – Verbal harpoons are flying in a public feud between the leader of the Sea Shepherd conservation group and the former skipper of the group's high-tech "Batmobile" boat the Ady Gil, which sank after a collision with a Japanese ship earlier this year. Skipper Peter Bethune says the boat was salvageable after the collision but he was ordered to scuttle it by Sea Shepherd head Paul Watson, AP reports.

Watson wanted the boat sunk to "garner sympathy with the public and to create better TV," Bethune said. "Paul Watson was my admiral. He gave me an order and I carried it out. I was ashamed of it at the time and I'm ashamed of it now." Watson gives a very different version of events, saying the sinking was Bethune's decision. The skipper spent 5 months in a Japanese jail this year for boarding a whaling ship, and Watson says he was expelled from the group for giving Japanese authorities false information in exchange for leniency.

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