Sea Shepherd's flagship vessel, the Steve Irwin, to join the campaign

<em>Operation Jeedara</em>In response to BP's plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight, in waters deeper and rougher than the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Sea Shepherd launches Operation Jeedara.

The Great Australian Bight is rich in beauty and biodiversity, boasting the worlds most significant southern right whale nursery, as well as humpback, sperm, blue and beaked whales. It is also Australia's most important sea lion nursery and supports orcas, great white sharks, southern blue fin tuna and other fish down to the small pelagic.

Bunna Lawrie is the Mirning Elder and whalesong man of the Nullabor, Great Australian Bight. Bunna Lawrie speaks of the place in the poetry of a people who have lived at the edge of that frontier for maybe 50,000 years.

"I'm the whale song man from the Nullarbor on the Great Australian Bight, the Great Australian Bight is the greatest whale nursery on this planet. The whale story where I come from is my university, my school. It's the place where our beautiful southern right whales come to calve their young, to teach their young to travel on the next journey. Whales like sperm whales, blue whales, pygmy blue whales, killer whales, humpback whales – they travel down there to honour that great journey, that song, that story of the great white whale Jeedara that is there now." - Bunna Lawrie, Mirning Elder - whalesong man.

In honouring Bunna and the Mirning and the great white whale, with permission, we have named our campaign Operation Jeedara, Sea Shepherd's bight defence campaign as part of the Great Australian Bight Alliance.

news 160521 1 2 EM OJ Adelaide Event 016 1000wHundreds rally in South Australia against BP's plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight. Photo: Eliza Muirhead

“We need to be respectful of the last few remaining places this planet has to offer that are still teeming with life. The Great Australian Bight is one of those places. With healthy biodiversity and a nursery for the southern right whales. It’s bad enough that oil exploitation is even considered here for it clearly should not be. But to allow a company like BP to even get near the area is a surefire recipe for disaster.” said Captain Alex Cornelissen, CEO Sea Shepherd Global.

"Our mission will be to showcase the beauty and the diversity of life that will be destroyed if BP even have a conservative spill, compared to their catastrophic spill in the Gulf of Mexico. With the recent spill last week by Shell in the Gulf, its clear that its not a matter of if a spill will occur, but when." said Jeff Hansen, Managing Director, Sea Shepherd Australia.

Sea Shepherd's Managing Director Jeff Hansen and The Widerness Society's South Australian Director, Peter Owen, at the Hands across the Sand rally. Photo: Eliza MuirheadSea Shepherd's Managing Director Jeff Hansen and The Widerness Society's South Australian Director, Peter Owen, at the Hands across the Sand rally. Photo: Eliza Muirhead

"With the impacts of climate change already being felt on land and the sea, our planets ability to support life hangs by a thread. As a father I am deeply concerned and feel we have an obligation, a responsibility and duty of care to do everything in our power to stop BP from drilling in the Great Australian Bight, for if there is one thing that is worth fighting for on this planet, we call home, its life."

"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 for the oil industry." said Wilderness Society South Australia Director Peter Owen.

Sea Shepherd's operation Jeedara will aim to depart Seaworks, Williamstown, Victoria in early August with the iconic MY Steve Irwin showcasing Australia's natural wonders that could be devastated by another BP oil spill, places like Kangaroo Island, Neptune Islands, Pearson Island, Isles of St Francis, Fowlers Bay, Nuyts Reef, Head of the Bight and of course the rich diversity of life in Bremer Canyon.

There is a perception out there that Sea Shepherd is a large organisation with lots of funds, however nothing could be further from the truth. Please help us raise the necessary funds to send the Steve Irwin to the Great Australian Bight in defence of one of the last great wilderness areas and for future generations.

Please donate

New Operation Jeedara merchandise can be purchased here:

The announcement was made at the Hands across the sand rally today at Glenelg Beach, Adelaide. These rallies aim to bring together individuals and organisations to promote a clean energy future across the world and end our dependence on dirty fuels. Events happened today globally and across Australia with Sea Shepherd represented. Including St Kilda Melbourne, Sisters Beach Tasmania, Glenelg Adelaide, Emu Bay Kangaroo Island, Port Lincoln, and Ceduna.

Sea Shepherd ship, the Steve Irwin, will head to the Great Australian Bight in August as part of Operation Jeedara. Photo: Tim WattersSea Shepherd ship, the Steve Irwin, will head to the Great Australian Bight in August as part of Operation Jeedara. Photo: Tim Watters

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