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Operation Reef Defence: A Summary

Thursday, Aug 30, 2018

In July and August, our flagship the M/Y Steve Irwin, travelled up the east coast of Australia to Abbot Point, to oppose the Adani Carmichael coal mine, rail link and coal port. Our position was made clear - Australia will not trade the Great Barrier Reef with one of the world’s biggest and most destructive coalmines.

The Campaign

In 2018, Sea Shepherd took the M/Y Steve Irwin vessel from Melbourne to Abbot Point. Along the way, we joined numerous communities, cities and hundreds of thousands of Australians in opposition of the Adani coal mine.

The mission showed that one thing is clear: an overwhelming majority of Australians do not want this coal mine. It is up to us all to make a stand; in defence of the Great Barrier Reef and any chance of a liveable climate for future generations. 

Why Stop Adani?

Climate change threatens not only our oceans but our very way of life.

- Adani expects to produce 2.3 billion tonnes of coal over 60 years, mainly for export to India, whilst pumping 4.7 billion tonnes of planet warming greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

- Mining, burning and exporting coal is the key contribution Australia makes to this global crisis.

- Australia is the largest exporter of coal in the world. We literally export climate change to the world.

- If it goes ahead, Adani’s mine would be Australia’s biggest ever coal mine and one of the largest in the world.

The Great Barrier Reef

Australia's much-loved natural icon, the Great Barrier Reef, is home to thousands of reefs, hundreds of islands and over 600 types of corals, colourful fish, molluscs, starfish, plus endangered turtles, dolphins, whales and sharks.

But the reef is under serious threat.

Development of the proposed Carmichael Adani coal mine, rail link and coal port would require a massive dredging program – right through the heart of the reef – and bring an extra 500 coal ships through the Great Barrier Reef each year. Burning the coal, no matter where in the world, will worsen climate change which is already causing the reef to bleach and die.

- Unprecedented bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and 2017 resulted in mass coral mortality. 30% of the coral is now dead, thanks to climate change, which coal is largely responsible for.

- By 2034, the extreme ocean temperatures that led to the 2016 and 2017 bleaching events may occur every two years.

- The return period for global bleaching events has decreased from 27 years in the 1980s to only 5.9 years now.

Adani’s new coal will only exacerbate these impacts, signing the death certificate for our Great Barrier Reef.

Revisit our journey along the east coast of Australia for Operation Reef Defence. 

The M/Y Steve Irwin preparing for departure on Operation Reef Defence in Melbourne.
Dolphins ride the bow of the M/Y Steve Irwin as the ship gets underway.
Sunset views from the M/Y Steve Irwin.
The deck team prepares for the ship's arrival into Sydney.
The M/Y Steve Irwin in Sydney Harbour.
Bob Brown lends his support to Operation Reef Defence in Sydney.
The crew of the M/Y Steve Irwin in Sydney.
The crew spots the Byron Bay lighthouse as the ship continues its passage north.
The M/Y Steve Irwin seen from the beach in Byron Bay,
Sea Shepherd joins #StopAdani protesters on the Gold Coast.
The M/Y Steve Irwin arrives to Brisbane with an incredible welcoming from the public.
The Veronicas show their support for Operation Reef Defence.
Xavier Rudd joins the fight for the reef in Brisbane.
The M/Y Steve Irwin at sunset near Heron Island.
Welcome To Country - Airlie Beach.
The M/Y Steve Irwin arrives in Abbot Point - the proposed site of Adani's Carmichael mine.
The M/Y Steve Irwin at Abbot Point.
Abbot Point: seen from the air.
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