I enjoyed this long piece from The New York Times about the Sea Sherpherds hunting a rogue fishing trawler through some of the worst seas in the world. They chased this thing over thousands of nautical miles in the Southern Oceans, eventually driving it under the waves.
From the Times:
On its second day of prowling for the Thunder last December, the Barker spotted its prey. Appearing first as a red blip on an otherwise barren radar monitor, the vessel was moving slowly, at 6 knots, and heading against the tide of floating icebergs, some the size of tall buildings.
Captain Hammarstedt sailed within 400 feet of the Thunder before reaching for a reference binder — an Interpol “mug shots” guide featuring silhouettes of illegal fishing vessels. He radioed the Thunder’s officers, most of them Spaniards or Chileans. Speaking through a translator, he warned that the Thunder was banned from fishing in those waters and would be stopped.
The Thunder responded: “No, no, no. Negative, negative. You have no authority to arrest this vessel. You have no authority to arrest this vessel. We are going to continue sailing, we are going to continue sailing but you have no authority to arrest this ship, over.”
“We do have authority,” the Bob Barker said. “We have reported your location to Interpol and to the Australian police.”
The poachers replied, “O.K., O.K., you can send our location, but you can’t board this ship, you can’t come in or arrest us.”
The Thunder’s crew, which had been working on its aft deck, abruptly disappeared inside. The ship (a trawler that had been converted to do other types of deep-sea fishing) soon doubled its speed and made a run for it, the Barker close behind. They were in a stretch of Antarctic sea called the Banzare Bank, known among mariners as “The Shadowlands” because it is among the planet’s most remote and inhospitable waters, nearly a two-week journey to the nearest major port.
On that first night of the chase, Dec. 17, Captain Hammarstedt made a note in his ship’s log: “Bob Barker will maintain hot pursuit and report on the F/V Thunder’s position to Interpol.”
The Barker’s Captain Hammarstedt, 30, a baby-faced Swede, was respected by his crew for his seafaring skills and calm under fire. A decade of antiwhaling work had exposed him to a fair share of angry storms and violent confrontations. Still, he worried as he prepared to follow the Thunder into a huge low-pressure zone.
As the wider, heavier Thunder held firm over the next two days in the storm, the Bob Barker swayed back and forth, listing 40 degrees as it was battered by 50-foot waves. Below deck, fuel sloshed in the Barker’s tanks, splashing through ceiling crevices and filling the ship with diesel fumes. In the galley, a plastic drum tethered to the wall broke free, coating the floor in vegetable oil that bled into the cabins below. Half the crew was seasick. “It was like working on an elevator that suddenly dropped and climbed six stories every 10 seconds,” Captain Hammarstedt recalled.
Emerging on the other side of the storm, the ships settled into several days of radio silence. As much a battle of wills, this endurance race was also a test of fuel capacities. While the Barker never left the Thunder’s trail, the Sam Simon split off several times to resupply. Each time the two vessels moved close enough to connect a refuel hose, the Thunder turned 180 degrees and sped toward them, wedging between them to disrupt the effort.
It'll take a while to read. But if you like rip roaring sea tales, like I do, it's a good option for lunchtime, or the train ride home this arvo. The NYT's website has some cool embedded video too.