The Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin is currently docked at C shed in Fremantle making preparations to head off on Operation Waltzing Matilda in early December to disrupt the Japanese whaling fleet.
We took a family trip down to Freo yesterday and went on a fantastic guided tour of this imposing black ship. Our tour guide was a Sea Shepherd volunteer who will be heading south on the Steve Irwin in December.
One thing our guide made clear was that the Sea Shepherd crews are not engaging in anything illegal. It is international law that the hunting of endangered species is illegal. The problem is that no country is prepared to enforce those laws in international waters. So it is up to an independent organisation to enforce this law.
Sea Shepherd relies completely on donations to continue its operations, and the donation must be generous with the Steve Irwin costing in excess of one million dollars a year to run. The majority of the running costs are for the fuel required to intercept and harass the Japanese whaling fleet in the southern ocean.
Hollywood is heavily involved with Sea Shepherd. Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers donated a large amount of money to fund the initial purchase of the Steve Irwin while Darryl Hannah and Pierce Brosnan are among those who have made a voyage to the southern ocean.
Tours run Friday to Sunday 9:30-5:30 PM and I recommend taking a look while the Steve Irwin is in town.