LOS ANGELES – Five million dollars for an anti-whaling ship? Bob Barker says the price is right.
Barker donated that amount to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which named its new 1,200-ton anti-whaling ship The Bob Barker. The ship had its first confrontation with whalers on Tuesday when it joined two other Sea Shepherd vessels aiming to stop a Japanese whaling mission near Antarctica.
On Wednesday, another of the group’s ships in the area – a high-tech speed boat that resembles a stealth bomber – had its bow sheared off in a confrontation with the Japanese whalers and was sinking.
Locky Maclean, aboard the group’s main ship which is in the area, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that the six-person crew of the Ady Gil had been safely transferred to the Bob Barker.
Japanese officials were not immediately available to comment.
The Bob Barker is a high-speed former whaling ship that can cut through ice, Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson said via satellite phone from aboard a nearby ship.
He added that the vessel “makes it a lot easier for us to shut down these whaling operations.”
Sea Shepherd, which Watson describes as an “anti-poaching organization,” aims to enforce the United Nations World Charter for Nature by physically intervening in illegal whaling missions.
“They’re targeting endangered and protected whales,” he said.
Barker, a longtime animal activist, stepped up his efforts even more after retiring from his 35-year gig hosting “The Price Is Right.” He met Watson through a fellow animal activist and was instantly impressed.
“He said he thought he could put the Japanese whaling fleet out of business if he had $5 million,” Barker recalled. “I said, ‘I think you do have the skills to do that, and I have $5 million, so let’s get it on,’ so that’s what we did.”
Barker, 86, said he was “genuinely proud” to be associated with Sea Shepherd. And while the TV studio where “The Price Is Right” is filmed is officially called the Bob Barker Studio, the veteran broadcaster said he’s never had a ship named after him.
“It was our idea to name it the Bob Barker. He’s a little too humble for that,” Watson said. “I thought it was the least we could do.”
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