Whale Wars: From Pirate To Prisoner aired Monday night on Animal Planet, which featured the happenings around Captain Pete Bethune after he boarded the Japanese whaling ship Shonan Maru No. 2 on February 15, 2010. It would be a harrowing five months for the sunken Ady Gil captain in Japanese custody. Whale Wars: From Pirate To Prisoner showed past Season 3 highlights surrounding Captain Pete Bethune and his issues with the Shonan Maru No. 2, who destroyed his boat the Ady Gil. Bethune’s wife even shared some thoughts and feelings.
Whale Wars: From Pirate To Prisoner Recounts the Aftermath of Captain Pete Bethune Boarding the Shonan Maru No. 2
The shows opens with footage of Pete Bethune beginning his anti-whaling quest in December of 2009. He was happy to be the skipper of the quick Ady Gil, furthering what he calls “marine conservation.” The Ady Gil didn’t last the full season of harassing the other whaling boats because it was split in two by its adversary, the Shonan Maru No. 2. This made Captain Pete Bethune hellbent on getting justice against the Japanese captain who destroyed his boat, deemed “an accident” by the whalers. That would mean the skipper boarding the ship that destroyed his. Nine days after the incident, he tried boarding the recon boat, but was unsuccessful, as shown on Whale Wars: From Pirate To Prisoner.
After Bethune finally boarded the ship this past February in the darkness, he waited for daybreak before entering the bridge. The skipper claimed the Japanese boat captain initially told him to go away, fearing more Sea Shepherds had got on board. But when it was found out that Captain Pete Bethune was alone, the skipper got inside and faced the angry captain. Bethune claimed on Whale Wars: From Pirate To Prisoner that the head of security was aggressive-acting, and the two almost got into a fight. The Japanese crew turned for Japan. Pete’s wife Sharyn was informed of what happened by another Sea Shepherd before the press found out. For 26 days, Bethune was locked in a cabin unaware of where he was going, but he was mostly treated with respect other than the security head, who did things to make the Ady Gil’s captain irritated.
Whale Wars: From Pirate To Prisoner Sees Captain Pete Bethune Get a Suspended Sentence for His Actions
When the Shonan Maru No. 2 arrived in Tokyo, Bethune was warned that he was in big trouble. Locals protested the actions of the activist and the media circus was intense around the arrest of the skipper. Bethune claimed he was interrogated by the Coast Guard, and taken to a detention center, where murderers and rapists were housed. Captain Pete Bethune claimed he was perceived as a terrorist by the other inmates, so he was left alone, but many of his actions were controlled by the guards, though he could write one letter a day.
By June 7, his 88th day in prison, the Sea Shepherds publicly kicked the activist out of their group. According to Captain Watson, he didn’t want the judges to “lose face” if they released him, and the skipper came back to the Southern Ocean – so he was publicly ousted from the activist group. Five criminal counts were lodged against Bethune, and he was looking at 15 years in the slammer. The defendant got “2 years with labor”, but the sentence was suspended for five years. Bethune was utterly relieved, and he was allowed to fly back to New Zealand. Soon, a homecoming party with family and friends was thrown on his behalf. Whale Wars: From Pirate To Prisoner never did say if the Sea Shepherds and the Japanese ex-prisoner are back together. But the captain said he felt like he’s been given a second chance at life, admitting he’ll never board another Japanese vessel. He’ll instead focus on other anti-whaling actions if he goes back to Antarctica.
If you need a recap of Season 3 of Whale Wars, Episode 1 is here; 3 here; 4 here; 5 here; 6 here; 7 here; 8 here; 9 here ; 10 here; 11 here; 12-13 here
“From Pirate To Prisoner”, Whale Wars, September 6, 2010, Animal Planet