Eco warrior fights for $500k

Last updated 09:19 31/07/2012
Peter Bethune
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ
'EXTREMELY SAD': Peter Bethune is trying to recover costs for the boat that sank after being rammed by a Japanese whaler in 2010.

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Auckland environmental activist Peter Bethune has begun proceedings to sue the Sea Shepherd organisation and its founder in the US for $500,000 he claims he is owed for the purchase of his boat.

Bethune began arbitration with the organisation and Paul Watson in Annapolis, Maryland, to recover costs for the boat which sank after being rammed by a Japanese whaler in 2010.

The case is expected to finish tomorrow.

"I am extremely sad that I have been forced to bring this case to court against an organisation that I loved and a man that I had great respect for," Bethune has previously said.

"I sacrificed a year of my life to Paul and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, including five months locked up in a maximum security prison in Japan resulting from actions I took under the captaincy of Paul. 

"He then expelled me from SSCS whilst I was in jail and their treatment of me publicly and privately since then has been a disgrace."

Bethune said he was looking forward to the dispute being resolved so he could "concentrate on the mountainous challenges to our marine environment rather than my mountainous debts".

Bethune's next project is tackling illegal fishing off the coast of Africa.

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