Sea Shepherd Australia launches Operation Jeedara

Thursday, 04 Aug, 2016

Sea Shepherd's flagship vessel the M/Y Steve Irwin has set sail for the Great Australian Bight in opposition to BP's plans to put the Bight at risk.

The crew of the M/Y Steve Irwin preparing to set sail.

Today at 1600 AEST the Steve Irwin departed Seaworks, Williamstown, Sea Shepherd's ships operations base for Operation Jeedara.

According to independent oil spill modelling released last year, an oil spill in the Bight from a deep-sea well blowout would be devastating for fisheries, tourism and marine life. The model showed that an oil spill could result in the closure of fisheries in the Bight, Bass Strait and even the Tasman Sea. Even a low-flow oil spill could impact all of southern Australia’s coast, from Western Australia right across to Victoria through Bass Strait and around Tasmania.

Operation Jeedara will showcase the Great Australian Bight and expose the threats to a wilderness of global significance. Much of the landscapes and diversity of life in the Great Australian Bight is unknown to the world. It is Sea Shepherd’s aim to showcase what we would all lose if BP were allowed to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight and had another Gulf of Mexico, Deep Water Horizon oil spill of lesser or equal value.

The M/Y Steve Irwin en route to the Great Australian Bight.

There will be a number of key events and stops along the journey and Sea Shepherd and the Great Australian Bight Alliance would welcome any participation at the following:


Mirning elder and whale song man Bunna Lawrie will be joining the expedition, "We need Australians to realise that there is only one Great Australian Bight, that has the largest southern right whale nursery and whale sanctuary, and not to mention the countless other marine life diversity, making this place so rare and globally unique. This campaign is important to not only me, but also our other Mirning elders and people, we must all realise that the bight is a beautiful gift for us and other generations coming to enjoy it, to live in harmony with nature, and that does not mean allowing BP to drill for oil in the Bight."

Bunna Lawrie, Jeff Hansen and Captain Wyanda. Photo: Tim WattersSea Shepherd Managing Director, Jeff Hansen stated, "We only have a handful of staff coordinating an army of tireless volunteers and campaigns, meaning that we maximise donations into direct results. However, because we have been so effective with delivering results for the world’s oceans, there is a perception out there that we are a big organisation with adequate funding; however, nothing could be further from the truth. So on that note, Sea Shepherd would like to thank all those wonderful, caring, selfless and compassionate donors that have donated to make this campaign possible, your support will sail with us on this expedition to protect the Great Australian Bight."

Steve Irwin Captain Wyanda Lublink from the Netherlands stated, " There is now irrefutable evidence that climate change is real. With the impacts of climate change being felt on the land and the sea, our planets ability to support life hangs by a thread. With the recent Paris Climate Summit agreement, in a bid to keep temperatures below a global 1.5 degrees celcius increase, we have to keep all remaining fossil fuels in the ground. Drilling for more climate altering oil while putting the Great Australian Bight at risk, is another nail in our planet’s coffin."

"The expedition will showcase the Great Australian Bight and highlight what's actually at stake - a wilderness of global significance. From the Nuyts Reef, the Isles of St Francis, Pearson Island, areas around Kangaroo Island and the Coorong Coast, to the iconic Bunda Cliffs of the Nullarbor Plain, the Bight is an utterly inappropriate place to be pushing to expand the oil industry. We must rapidly transition away from fossil fuels to have any chance of a liveable climate into the future" said Wilderness Society South Australia Director Peter Owen.

Australian environmentalist, Dr Bob Brown will also travel with the ship during campaign from Fowler's Bay.

Sunrise on the M/Y Steve Irwin
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