The mayor of Fremantle, Western Australia, officially christened Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's newly acquired, fast interceptor vessel Gojira, during a ceremony in Fremantle's fishing boat harbor earlier this week. Mayor Brad Pettitt presented Fremantle's flag and an engraved plaque with the city's coat of arms to Captain Locky MacLean for Gojira's maiden voyage to defend the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.
Gojira Captain Locky MacLean expressed, "Fremantle has once again proven to be one of the strongest support bases for Sea Shepherd. From the onshore volunteers, to the local businesses and people of Fremantle, we would not have been able to be leave on time without their support."
Perhaps the real ceremony highlight was the unveiling of Gojira's registration with the homeport of Fremantle. The significance here is for the first time in Sea Shepherd's 33 years of operation, they will have an Australian-registered vessel, with Australian crewmembers, defending Australia's territory, and upholding the Australian Federal Court ruling.
"Having Fremantle as a homeport for Gojira, and flying the Australian flag, optimizes Australia as the most passionate defender of whales in the world," said Sea Shepherd's Australian Director Jeff Hansen.
Gojira is currently en route to Hobart, Tasmania to join the rest of Sea Shepherd's fleet with a mission to defend the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. On December 2, Captain Paul Watson and his international crew will embark upon their annual journey aboard three ships Steve Irwin, Bob Barker, and Gojira, on a mission to enforce international conservation law and prevent the illegal slaughter of endangered whales.
Sea Shepherd sends a special mention of great appreciation for onshore support to the following individuals and businesses: Hayley Radford, Olly Klokhag Rowlett, Liza and Mike Dicks, Brendon Clark and all the team from Clark Australia Group, Macca and all the team at BME Engineering, John and the team from Nail Ale Brewery, Peter Wales and all the team from Kailis Marine, all the team from Eye In The Sky Magazine, and the Perth Chapter of Sea Shepherd - thank you!
Sea Shepherd would also like to extend a big thank you to Fremantle's mayor Brad Pettitt who showed his support in representing Australia's wishes in having the compassion and conviction to stand up to the illegal whalers.