http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/3191502/NZ-boat-fails-to-help-Steve-Irwin-shake-off-whalerNZ boat fails to help Steve Irwin shake off whaler
A crew of New Zealanders on the 24m trimaran Earthrace has failed to help the Sea Shepherd group's main anti-whaling ship, Steve Irwin, shake off a pursuing Japanese security vessel.
The Earthrace – renamed the Ady Gil since it was bought for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society by a Hollywood businessman – carries four New Zealanders and one Dutch citizen, Laurens De Groot.
Steve Irwin captain Paul Watson said the Shonan Maru No 2 harpoon boat has been harassing his ship for the past 12 days as it attempts to prevent his crew from pursuing the Japanese whaling fleet.
He said the Ady Gil met up with the Steve Irwin and circled the Shonan Maru before dawn today to create a diversion and try to help his vessel lose the Japanese ship.
The Ady Gil, which New Zealand skipper Pete Bethune has claimed is a "stealth boat" painted with radar deflective paint, had taken advantage of relative darkness to join up with the Steve Irwin and transfer materials and crew, he said in an email message.
"The Steve Irwin headed off leaving the Ady Gil to harass and slow down the Shonan Maru No 2. . .," Capt Watson said.
"At first it looked good, and the Steve Irwin was able to put 12 miles between the Shonan Maru No 2 and itself.
"But despite being harassed by the Ady Gil for two hours, the Japanese slowly worked their way back to a six-mile distance.
"To accomplish this they had to increase their speed to over 20 knots, a speed at which, unfortunately, the Steve Irwin cannot outrun."
He said the Shonan Maru had pursued the Ady Gil with water cannons and LRADs (long-range acoustic devices) before both ships reached speeds of more than 20 knots in two-metre swells.
"The Ady Gil crew defended their ship utilising photonic disrupters (high-powered green lasers) in an effort to get the Shonan Maru No 2 to back off to a safe distance," Capt Watson said.
Australian Greens leader Bob Brown has called on the federal government to send surveillance planes or boats to record the dispute.
"This is a whaling war with Kevin Rudd missing from action," Senator Brown said.
"Japan has two naval vessels involved. Rudd should at least send surveillance planes or vessels."
Senator Brown said he was revolted that Japan's fleet was allowed to refuel in Australia en route to killing whales.