2 Jan 2011

Philanthropist Ady Gil wants to salvage vessel

2:41 pm on 2 January 2011

American philanthropist Ady Gil wants to salvage the vessel bearing his name, which was involved in a collision with Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean a year ago.

Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is back in the ocean where it says it has already found the Japanese whaling fleet and is pursuing it.

Mr Gil donated $US1 million to the group so it could buy the former Earthrace vessel which was used in last season's campaign.

Ady Gil skipper Pete Bethune now admits that he scuttled the vessel on Sea Shepherd orders after it was badly damaged, although the society denies this.

Mr Bethune and Mr Gil have fallen out with Sea Shepherd, accusing Sea Shepherd's founder Paul Watson of being dishonest.

Mr Gil now refers to the organisation as a black horse, but says it is nevertheless the only horse in the race with the Japanese whalers.

He says he understands the trimaran has never completely sunk and is keen to retrieve it. He believes it means a lot to many people who would like to see it on a pedestal somewhere.