Ok, now this one I have to reply to!
I saw a couple of espisodes of "Whale Wars" on local TV, and found them fascinating viewing.
In fact I can state it is THE most gripping TV I've ever seen.
Ended up purchasing all of seasons 1 and 2 on iTunes, then found a different way of downloading season 3 (because Animal Planet refused to sell to my UK credit card??)
Love em or loathe em, the dedication and deep love for the oceans and their life is pretty moving.
Manned by volunteers, 95% of whome are totally inexperienced but willing to put their lives on the line, the Steve Irwin ship, once a whaler itself, is pretty old and cranky - and NOT rated for the icy conditions they sail into.
The crew are told that if they fall overboard they'll freeze to death before the S.I. can turn around or launch a small boat. They travel around 6000 miles from any help; it is very real, serious danger that they are willing to, and do, put themselves in.
Regarding the collision:
The Ady Gil was built by the owner, at a cost of around $3 million. He broke the world speed record for circumnavigating the globe (under a different boat name). He volunteered to help the "Sea Sheppards", at his own expense.
Having successfully thrown some stink bombs onto a different ship (possibly the main prize, the factory ship, can't remember) he and his 3 man crew had to stop. They were out of fuel.
That year was the first where they had more than one boat, including another Steve Irwin sized vessel but a couple of knots faster and able to keep up with the factory ship.
The idea that the Steve Irwin can out-turn the harpoon ships is laughable - they're amazing machines, designed to chase down running whales. The Steve Irwin can just about manage 15 knots, with both engines running. The 3 harpoon boats in the fleet cruise effortlessly at 19 knots and can turn much, much fast than the Steve Irwin, which can't even keep up with the 16 knots of the factory ship.
That's why they use the speed boats. If they manage to spot a whaling vessel, which can take weeks, they launch the speedboat. Again at great risk (and yes, there are frequent injuries including a busted pelvis and cracked chin) they go racing off over the horizon, 10 miles or more.
Having caught them, I should say IF, they throw harmless stink bombs, avoiding people, and try to foul the prop. In turn they're blasted with water cannons, sonic-blasts and have large screws, nuts, lumps of metal and other such things thrown at them.
Their main aim to to taint the whale meat so it cannot be sold. The Japanese "research" consists of killing over 1000 whales a year, including 50 of a relatively rare species, which the factory ship processes and cans there and then.
Back to the Ady Gil. They motored over to the Steve Irwin for waving goodbye, because they were going to be stuck there for a few days, waiting for the other ship to arrive, which had more fuel.
They were stationary, with the crew on top of the boat, when a harpoon boat raced towards them, using it's water cannons to blow them into the freezing water.
Before the crew could even get back into the boat to avoid the cannon the harpoon vessel swerved directly into them, smashing the bow off the boat. For good measure they also hit the crew with water cannons.
Had someone been inside the boat they would have suffered amputations or death.
When I first started watching the series I did so for the comedy value, for they were so incompetent yet earnest. It was funny to watch, at first.
You soon realize though, that is it very real. You can say they go too far, that whales aren't worth the bother, that they and their ilk should just sit at home and write a stern letter to someone, perhaps send an email?
The fact remains that they reduce the kill by around 50%, which is vastly more than Greenpiece (which Watson founded, before being kicked out for being too radical) or any government has done.
As I say, when I first watched it was because they were a bunch of entertaining idiots. By the end of watching I'm left with nothing but deep respect and admiration for these people.
Sure, they'll put as much spin on things as they can, publicity is a major part of what they're trying to do.
I suggest you view the whole thing for yourself, before passng judgment.