After Watson’s recent post, I cannot let all his half-truths and lies about the sinking of Ady Gil go unanswered. Watson claims the vessel was doomed, however this is simply not true. Four of us, including Watson, were involved in a conspiracy to secretly scuttle the vessel to garner sympathy from media and the public, and all done without the permission or knowledge of its owner.
After the Ady Gil was rammed by Japanese whalers in Antarctica, we got the order from Paul Watson to covertly scuttle (sink) her, but also to pretend we tried our best to save the vessel. Only 3 people on the Bob Barker were initially aware of this. Chuck Swift, Luke Van Horn and myself. Crew spent 30 hours removing everything from the Ady Gil because we planned to abandon her. Chuck, Luke and myself then went aboard, I opened up the sea cocks and hatches, and we then connected the tow lines. We started the pretend tow some 30 hours after the initial ramming. Over the next 6 hours she slowly got deeper in the water until the tow rope broke. I was asleep when the rope broke. Chuck ordered the Bob Barker to continue. No effort to reconnect the tow ropes was made. Nor did anyone go back aboard. The Bob Barker just continued on in the direction of where we thought the whalers were. This was in the middle of the night when it was dark. I awoke several hours later when it was light. We then filmed me supposedly making the decision to abandon her.
There are only 6 people who were definitely privy to what happened. Paul, Chuck, Luke, myself, and 2 of the Ady Gil crew. The problem for Sea Shepherd is the vessel was owned by Ady Gil. In sinking her, we had basically destroyed his property, something Ady Gil is extremely upset about. In his recent and other posts, Watson makes a series of false claims.
Watson says the vessel was already destroyed, however this was simply not the case. It was a composite vessel that needed a new bow and this is not a difficult engineering challenge. Composite boats broken completely in half have been repaired numerous times. The Designers (Loomocean) and the original boatbuilder (Calibre Boats) all stated the vessel could be easily repaired.
Watson says she was difficult to tow. This is not true. The vessel was easy to tow backwards. She towed better in this direction in any case. Also, given the damage was in the bow, towing her backwards would drain water from inside.
Watson says we towed her for 36 hours. This is not true. We spent 30 hours removing gear and preparing her for abandonment. We then opened the sea cocks and towed her for 6 hours as she sank. The sea cocks were opened before we had towed the vessel even one inch.
Watson says we had to sink her because she was a navigational hazard. This is not true, simply by fact she was in a sea full of ice posing much greater threats to vessels than a carbon fibre race boat.
Watson says I am on camera making the decision to abandon her. This is true, but it was simply filmed as part of the charade to make it look like we tried our best to save her. Note this footage is in broad daylight, while the abandonment was done in darkness. There is also footage of Watson being shot by the Japanese, and yet only the most naive of people would ever believe this event actually took place.
Watson says it would tie up the Bob Barker for an excessive period to tow the Ady Gil to Australia, however the proposed plan was to tow her to the French base, just a short distance away.
Now if the best course of action was to abandon her, then Ady Gil (the man) should have been made aware of this. He owned the vessel after all, and would probably have agreed. The vessel had a satellite transponder that could be switched on. This would have revealed her position for years to come, and Ady Gil or Sea Shepherd could have mounted a recovery operation when time and resources suited. Instead we removed the transponder and all batteries, thereby removing any chance of the vessel being salvaged.
I have a few regrets in life. One of them was ever obeying Watson’s orders to scuttle the Ady Gil. We lied to the crew of Sea Shepherd, sponsors, donors, Ady Gil, media and our families, and I am ashamed to have been part of such a dishonest act. I suspect if I’d stood up to Watson then the vessel probably would have been towed to Antarctica. I made a mistake and I apologise for it. What appals me now is Watson is intent on continuing with the lies, and he continues to malign me and others over it. I am tired of all the deception and dishonesty.
Since September 2010, Watson has attacked Ady Gil (the man) on numerous occasions. His attacks have been unwarranted, especially given how generous Ady Gil was in providing his vessel to Sea Shepherd. If Watson had apologised to Ady Gil in 2010, I suspect Ady Gil would have let it slide. Instead Watson has continued spewing forth his vitriol and bile, and it is no surprise Ady Gil is now biting back with a lawsuit. Sometimes we reap what we sew. And in this case, Sea Shepherd is facing a difficult lawsuit from a man resourced enough to take it to completion.
A few years ago Watson said he was tired of all the accusations against him, and that people should take him to court if we really believed we had a case. I took his advice, took him to court and won. He was forced to pay me the $500k plus interest I was owed, exactly as I had stated all along. SSCS should have just accepted we had a binding contract and paid up – instead they wasted tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees in a case they were always going to lose.
It would seem Ady Gil is now taking Watson’s advice and also taking them to court. I don’t know anything about Ady Gil’s case, aside from what is posted by Watson. I have not met with Ady Gil’s lawyers, nor have I been asked to testify. But I do know if Watson really believes in his fairy tale about the sinking of the Ady Gil, he should subpoena us all and have us testify. He won’t of course. He will just continue to whine and whinge that everyone else is to blame for the problems of his own making.
Those of you intent on attacking Ady Gil, few of you have ever met the man, and because he refuses to get involved in all the slander, you have not heard his side of events. Watson’s post had all manner of nasty comments from people wishing Ady Gil was dead, abusing him and posting his home address. Thankfully the worst were removed. But it is still disgraceful. Ady Gil donates to so many Animal Rights causes, most of which you never hear about. There are few enough wealthy people donating to Animal Rights as it is, and many of the people making the vindictive comments have probably donated jack shit. At least Ady is prepared to put his money where his mouth is.
Ady Gil is not a close friend of mine, nor does he financially support my work. However I do know he contributes so much to many animal rights causes, and he doesn’t deserve to be pilloried like he is now. He is simply taking legal action against Watson who has spent the last 3 years attacking him, that suggested if anyone had problems with him to take him to court, and that dishonestly ordered the covert scuttling of the Ady Gil when it was perfectly salvageable.
I don’t know how this will play out. The best would be SSCS simply issue an apology to Ady Gil and come to an agreement over the deliberate sinking of his vessel. In reality I doubt this will happen, it will go to court, and SSCS will in all probability lose another court case. Watson will also continue to attack others. He spent 30 years attacking Greenpeace. In recent times he’s moved onto Ady Gil, Martyn Stewart, myself and others. It is a shame he cannot focus on the real enemy.
As for the claim that Ady Gil wants to see Sea Shepherd destroyed, I don’t know if this is true or not. I hope not. Sea Shepherd have done a lot of good over the years, and I doubt the case has any real chance of destroying what is a very powerful and well-resourced organisation. At the same time, recent events might be a wake-up call to the Sea Shepherd board to ensure the organisation moves forward with a new commitment to honesty and integrity, and to see its employees (namely Watson) refrain from personal attacks on others. One can but hope….