Sea Shepherd Will Use $12-Million Award to Build a Marine Batmobile

Seriously, stop hunting whales.
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Seriously, stop hunting whales.
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The ocean conservation group Sea Shepherd, which regularly makes headlines by confronting whaling ships on the high seas, plans to spend the roughly $12 million it was awarded early this week at Amsterdam's Good Money Gala to build a terrifying boat ideal for extra-legal, maritime confrontation. The group, which operates mainly out of Hobart, Tasmania, already operates the SSS Steve Irwin, named for the "Crocodile Hunter," and the SSS Bob Barker, named for the game show host. The boats might not sound intimidating, but they are. What they are not is fast. Sea Shepherd's fastest ship, the speed trimaran Ady Gil was rammed in 2010 by a Japanese whaling vessel and suffered catastrophic damage. The new ship will be designed to reach high speeds and be tough enough to withstand attack.

The reason Sea Shepherd, which gained an international reputation under the guidance of Captain Paul Watson, is so set on building a sort of Batmobile for the high seas is that the organization wants to be able to put its vessels between whales and the harpoons that kill them. Faster boats can interrupt hunts in a hurry. Bigger boats can make that interruption definitive. Ant the organization, which receives a great deal of funding from America and is not so well regarded in Asia, is not going to wait. “After researching possible shipbuilders for the last two years, negotiations with Dutch shipbuilder Damen has resulted in a blueprint of our ideal ship," Sea Shepherd announced in a statement. For those keeping track, Damen builds both offshore vessels and high-speed craft, including Coast Guard patrol ships. 

Whalers will head back to shore if they know what's best for them.

Photos by Courtesy Sea Shepherd