Season three of Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” looks to be action-packed: On Wednesday morning, six members of the show’s protagonist environmental group had their stealthy new boat destroyed when its bow was sheared off by a Japanese security vessel.
All six members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society were rescued from the Ady Gil, and only one suffered minor injuries (cracked ribs), according to Discovery Communications-owned Animal Planet.
Of course, as any regular “Whale Wars” viewer knows, clashes between Sea Shepherd operatives and the whalers are regular — in fact, for the environmental group, getting in the way of whaling operations is kind of the point.
However, Wednesday’s collision in the upper Antarctic Ocean took the level of conflict to new heights. According to Sea Shepherd officials, the Shonan Maru No. 2 intentionally rammed the much smaller Ady Gil, shearing off its bow.
“It was aiming at the crew’s command quarters, which would have certainly killed somebody,” said Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson, to the Associated Press, which obtained video of the event.
For their part, however, officials representing the Shonan Maru say the Ady Gil was intentionally trying to ram their vessel, but misjudged the angle of approach and ended up worse for wear.
For her part, Animal Planet president and general manager Marjorie Kaplan tried to strike a neutral tone Wednesday, releasing this statement: “We’re very concerned that all of the players — on both sides of the ‘war’ — should come out of this conflict unharmed. It’s indicative of how critical this conservation story is that these individuals are willing to risk their lives for what they believe.”