Shipping & Shipbuilding News -  6 December 2007 - The Brightest Maritime Daily

The newly named STEVE IRWIN, seen here out bound off Sorrento bound for Auckland NZ then the Southern Ocean to defend the whales against the Japanese whaling fleet ( Photo:  Andrew Mackinnon )

Sea Shepherd vessel named in honour of Steve Irwin
Former Scottish Fisheries vessel, the ROBERT HUNTER is named in honour of famous Australian wildlife expert and television personality...

Terri Irwin has granted the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society permission to rename its ship currently known as Robert Hunter in honour of her late husband, Steve Irwin.

Captain Paul Watson, founder and president of Sea Shepherd and Terri Irwin officially announced the new name for the ship Steve Irwin at a press conference at 12:00 on December 5th at Victoria Docklands in Melbourne, Australia.

Sea Shepherd said they were proud to partner with Terri Irwin to launch Operation Migaloo as she and Steve have been world renowned for their conservation work. Terri knows that Steve would have been extremely honoured to be acknowledged in this way as he shared Sea Shepherd's passion for saving whales.

Terri said: "Whales have always been in Steve's heart and in 2006 he was investigating the possibility of joining the Sea Shepherd on part of its journey to defend these beautiful animals."

The objective of Operation Migaloo is to intervene against illegal whaling actions by the Japanese whaling fleet. Sea Shepherd say the Japanese whalers are targeting endangered humpbacks and fin whales along with 935 piked whales in the Southern Oceans Whale Sanctuary in violation of a global moratorium on commercial whaling and they will be killing many of these whales in the Australian Antarctic Territory.

"Steve Irwin's life demonstrated how one person can make a significant difference in the world," said Capt Watson. "Steve wanted to come to Antarctica with us to defend the whales and now he will be joining us in spirit with his name emblazoned on the fastest and most powerful whale protection ship in the world."

The vessel was originally the Scottish Fisheries vessel WESTRA, built in 1975 by Hall, Russell and Co Ltd, Aberdeen. She was purchased by Sea Shepherd in 2003 and renamed ROBERT HUNTER. The vessel hit the headlines in February 2007 when was struck by whaling vessel KAIKO MARU and suffered a three foot gash to her hull.

The popular TV celebrity died in 2006 after his chest was fatally pierced by a stingray barb.

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