On Sunday July 22, the MY Steve Irwin under the command of Captain Malcolm Holland left Seaworks Williamstown, Melbourne Australia en route to Broome in a last ditch effort to save the largest humpback whale nursery in the world.
The Steve Irwin was given a very moving send off with a Smoking Ceremony from Rodney Augustine, who is a Nyul Nyul and Jabir Jabir man whose land and sea country is at risk due to the proposed Woodside gas hub.
The ceremony was to guide the ship and crew safely to Walmadan (the Indigenous name for James Price Point). Rodney also handed Captain Holland a number of items for the journey to Walmadan, which included a shell symbolizing Rodney's strength that was given to him by his elders and containers that contained ashes from all the ceremonies Rodney has held educating people in Melbourne about Walmadan and also ashes from the sacred fire at the tent embassy in Canberra. The crew members of the Steve Irwin were very moved by the experience as Rodney later elaborated about the importance of operation Kimberly Miinimbi.
Operation Miinimbi campaign leader Bob Brown stated, “The public response to our announcement that Sea Shepherd's ship Steve Irwin is going to the Kimberley whale nursery has been heart-warming. The Australian public is right behind this venture to save the humpback nursery from the threats of Woodside's proposed Kimberley gas factory at JPP. We have invited every federal MP to join us to see the whales in their natural splendor.”
Steve Irwin Ship Manager, Beck Straussner stated, "For many years I have studied humpbacks under an endangered species permit and spent thousands of hours conducting research in a breeding sanctuary. From a researcher point of view it is easy to see what a devastating impact the proposed gas hub project will cause. With the collaboration of Bob Brown, I think we will expose the facts and allow people to make an informed decision. Our supporters want their children to see whales not only in a book but right here in Australian waters. There are only a handful of breeding grounds left on the planet. James Price Point is so rare, unique and must be protected."
Australian Director Jeff Hansen stated, "The Kimberley humpback whale nursery is of global significance and concern. If our federal ministers allow this gas hub to go ahead then it would be quite hypocritical for the Australian government to condemn the Japanese whalers, due to the simple fact that the reality is, if the federal government green lights this gas hub project, there will be whale deaths inside the world’s largest humpback nursery. Even the Western Australian Environment Protection Authority has stated that vessel strikes had the potential to adversely affect whales".
Anyone with a love for whales should make their way to James Price Point, for if this gas hub goes ahead, it will be the last chance for Australians and the world to see the largest humpback whale nursery before Woodside puts an ugly, big gas hub right through the middle of it.
The Steve Irwin will arrive in Broome on Saturday, August 4th, where a number of publicized voyages will commence to James Price Point, as a vigil to draw attention to the prolific calving that goes on in the region of the proposed site.
Please write to the Honorable Tony Burke MP, Federal Environment Minister, letting him know that you do not support the gas hub in James Price Point.
The Honorable Tony Burke MP
Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives, Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600