Pete Bethune, founder of Earthrace Conservation, and Sea Shepherd Conservation
Society, have reached an agreement following arbitration in their long-running legal
dispute. The agreement, which involved a financial settlement to Bethune, also
provided that he will assist Sea Shepherd to help ensure Paul Watson is not extradited
The dispute between Sea Shepherd and Bethune arose after the Ady Gil vessel was
damaged in the 2010 Sea Shepherd campaign, while trying to stop Japanese whaling
in Antarctica. The Ady Gil was deliberately rammed by the Shonan Maru #2, a
Japanese security vessel, and after a period of towing, the Ady Gil was abandoned.
Under agreements signed between Bethune and Sea Shepherd in 2009, if the vessel
was lost or destroyed, Sea Shepherd would be required to make certain payments to
Bethune. The arbitration was regarding the payment and its amount.
Bethune said, “I am happy that the case has reached its conclusion and am
pleased with the result. Fighting between individuals and organisations that are
fundamentally working towards the same goals is a waste of time, money and effort
that could be better spent protecting marine life and environments.
“This settlement means that I will be able to repay all those who have been so
generous in helping me keep my head above water, as well as all those who have
steadfastly supported me throughout this whole episode, especially all the Earthrace
volunteers. Without that support, I would have been sunk, much like the Ady Gil.”
Bethune and Sea Shepherd are both now focused on working together for the good
of the oceans and as part of that endeavour, Bethune has been helping Watson in his
efforts to avoid extradition to Japan pursuant to an Interpol red notice that was issued
against Watson at the request of Japan.
Sea Shepherd contends that the red notice is politically motivated and that its
allegations are false. Bethune, who was convicted of five offenses by a court in Japan
following Sea Shepherd’s 2010 campaign, says that Japan’s allegations against Watson
are essentially false or misleading, and his goal is to see the red notice against Watson
“Sea Shepherd has honored the agreement we made with Pete Bethune,” said Susan
Hartland, Sea Shepherd Administrative Director. “Now both of our organizations
can close this chapter in our history and move forward to support marine wildlife
worldwide,” she added.
Sea Shepherd will continue its various campaigns to protect endangered and
threatened marine mammals and fish. The organization would like the red notice
against Paul Watson lifted before the sixth season of Sea Shepherd’s hit docu-reality
TV show, “Whale Wars,” airs later this year.
Bethune and Earthrace Conservation are about to deploy their tactical unit to Africa
where they are filming a reality TV series documenting illegal fishing by foreign
vessels. Two episodes of the show have already been filmed, and another six will be
filmed from July to October this year.