This morning friends, family and supporters gathered at Sea Shepherd Australia’s Operations Base in Williamstown, and at Elizabeth Street Pier in Hobart to bid a fond farewell to crews of The Steve Irwin, The Sam Simon and The Bob Barker as the ships depart for Sea Shepherd’s tenth Antarctic Defence Campaign, Operation Relentless.
Last year, the Sea Shepherd Fleet was successful in shutting down the poaching operations of the Japanese whaling fleet, saving the lives of 932 whales. In the nine previous Antarctic Whale Defence Campaigns, Sea Shepherd has saved over 4,500 protected whales from illegal slaughter.
Over the last decade, Sea Shepherd has enjoyed great support from people all around the world, particularly from Australia where the Sea Shepherd Fleet has called home for several years.
Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia, Jeff Hansen, says: “The crew on these ships carry with them the hope, the aspirations and the expectations of people from across the world who hope to see the end to this slaughter.”
Captain of The Bob Barker, Peter Hammarstedt of Sweden, says, ”The departure of the Japanese whale poaching fleet is an offence to an international community patiently waiting on the expected ruling of the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Sea Shepherd will now, again, head south as the only authority acting to restore law and order to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.”
Captain of The Steve Irwin, Siddarth Chakravarty of India says: “The Steve Irwin's course is set for due South. Within a week my crew and I will be among our much-loved clients, the whales. We will not return until peace has been restored in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.”
This year, over 100 Sea Shepherd volunteers from 24 countries around the world will once again stand guard at the gates of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to uphold the 1986 ban on commercial whaling.
Sea Shepherd Global Director, Alex Cornelissen of Netherlands, says: “Like all poachers we encounter in our global campaigns, we will deal with the whalers the same way we always do: Relentlessly.”