Operation Reef Defence: M/Y Steve Irwin arrives at Airlie Beach

Tuesday, 07 Aug, 2018

The M/Y Steve Irwin has arrived to Airlie Beach today on Operation Reef Defence: our campaign to protect the Great Barrier Reef. 

Reef Action Whitsundays spokesperson Jonathan Peter says the Steve Irwin’s east coast tour is to highlight the Australia-wide view that the Adani project must not go ahead. “With 84% of the nation opposed to handing over public funds to open up the Carmichael Basin, it would be a tragedy for the Great Barrier Reef and traditional owners of the country."

Sea Shepherd's Managing Director, Jeff Hansen, said: “The Whitsundays are renowned globally with one of the most popular yachting destinations in the Southern Hemisphere, with the northern most islands situated off the coast of Bowen, which is right in the heart of where Adani plan to ship their coral killing coal from Abbot Point right through the middle of our Great Barrier Reef with up to 500 large coal ships.

Tourism is critical to the people of the Whitsundays and Sea Shepherd is proud to stand with the Whitsundays community in defence of our Great Barrier Reef, for she is the largest living thing on planet earth and she is sick, with a third of her already dead.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must stand up for our Great Barrier Reef, for the 64,000 Australian jobs the reef supports, and for any chance in a liveable climate for our children. Do the right thing by our children Minister Turnbull and revoke Adani’s approval, make the right choice in choosing coral over coal and a liveable climate for our children."

Sea Shepherd also honours, respects and acknowledges the traditional owners of the Whitsundays with the Ngaro, Gia, Juru and Biria people, who lived in peace are harmony with the natural world as custodians of the land for tens of thousands of years. They were brave and strategic warriors and Sea Shepherd looks to their wisdom and guidance as together we work to preserve the natural world, that is left, that sustains us all.”

Jeff Hansen continued: “Given most of the air we breathe comes from our oceans, they are humanities primary life support, however the alarming fact is that we are missing 40% of the phytoplankton that give us oxygen, and this decline is linked to climate change from the burning of fossil fuels. So putting the Great Barrier Reef first, putting our oceans first, is actually putting people first, for we do not live on this planet with a dead ocean. 

"Climate change from the burning of fossil fuels, like coal, is a big three punch combo on our battling Great Barrier Reef, be that ocean acidification that stops the formation of coral, ocean warming that expels the algae leading to starvation and death, or increased intensities of cyclones and their frequency, like giant ocean hammers smashing into the reef. 

"To put it simply, if the Adani coal mine goes ahead, say goodbye to our Great Barrier Reef. This coming federal election, make your vote count, vote for our Great Barrier Reef, for our oceans and any chance in a liveable climate for our children, for at the end of the day, there is no jobs on a dead planet."


The Ngaro, known as the “canoe people”, were one of four tribes that inhabited the area until settlement and Aboriginal removal began in the 1800s. Alongside the Juru, Gia and Biria. 

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