Ady Gil captain recalls collision horror

The New Zealand captain of the ill-fated Ady Gil has told of his crew's "murderous" brush with death in the Antarctic when their high-speed pursuit vessel was sliced open by a Japanese whaler.

As New Zealand maritime authorities waited in Fremantle to interview the survivors, Pete Bethune accused the crew of Shonan Maru 2 of "attempted murder" by "deliberately ramming" their boat into his vessel on January 6.

The Japanese deny they were at fault, saying the Ady Gil turned deliberately in front of them.

"I've had a few nightmares - I think all the crew think about it every night," Mr Bethune said on arrival in Fremantle on board the Steve Irwin, the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd's vessel, yesterday.

"Looking back on it, the day it happened the crew just went into shock."

He described how the $1.9 million trimaran world speed record holder, donated by American television personality and animals rights activist Ady Gil, had stopped chasing the Japanese whaling fleet in Australian territorial waters that morning.

As it happened, the trimaran was running low on fuel, he said.

"We were dead in the water and we saw the Shonan Maru come in on us and deliberately line us up," he said.

"They deliberately turned, and then for about 600m or 800m they came and it looked like they were going to miss us by about 20m to 30m.

"Then suddenly they turned to starboard sharply and cut us in half.

"There's no doubt in my mind - they deliberately rammed us."

One Ady Gil crew member, New Zealand cameraman Simeon Houtman, cracked two ribs but no one else was injured.


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