After spending only a brief period of time refueling and loading supplies, the flagship of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), the Steve Irwin, is now back on the road, heading towards the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to track down the Japanese whaling fleet.
Captain Paul Watson, the leader of the SSCS and the commander of the flagship, says that the short stay in Wellington, New Zealand, provided the crew with everything it needed to continue harassing the Japanese through the end of the whaling season.
International appeals made to Sea Shepherd
supporters around the world were also tremendously successful, and the organization managed to raise the $800,000 it needed to take on a full load of 250,000 liters of marine diesel fuel.
In addition to its own supplies, the Steve Irwin also carries fuel and food for the other SSCS ships, the Bob Barker and the Gojira. They are currently engaged with the illegal Japanese whaling fleet.
The inflatable Zeppelin boat that was damaged during a confrontation with the whalers was also fully repaired while the Steve Irwin was docked, and will be returned to the Bob Barker when the fleets join forces again.
The main SSCS ships remained docked at Queen’s Wharf in Wellington for only three days, yet locals showed up to donate tools, equipments, and their services to the crew. This again showed the great popularity the organization enjoys in Australia and New Zealand.
“The people of Wellington have been awesome in their support for the whales and our efforts to end whaling in the Southern Ocean,” Captain Paul Watson says.
“Within a week, we will be back with our other two ships on the trail of the Japanese whaling fleet, fully supplied, and with the ability to take our campaign to the end of the whaling season in March,” he adds.
“We were able to take on all the donations of food, especially fresh produce, that we need for all three vessels. The crews on the Bob Barker and the Gojira will be happy, they have not had fresh vegetables or fruit for weeks,” says Steve Irwin's Chief Cook, Laura Dakin.
The organization is determined to continue harassing the Japanese whaling fleet until the season ends. This year, the whalers are unlikely to come anywhere near their established quota, which means that the economic incentive for their actions will soon fade away.