The Sea Shepherd flagship Steve Irwin arrived back in Fremantle on Thursday, January 28th, to make emergency helicopter repairs, refuel, re-provision, and drop off rescued crew from the Sea Shepherd ship Ady Gil, which sank after being deliberately rammed and cut in two by the Japanese vessel Shonan Maru No. 2.
The Steve Irwin made its stop very brief in order to return to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary as quickly as possible. Within 48 hours, the Steve Irwin had returned in pursuit of the Japanese whaling fleet along the coast of Antarctica.
The Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker continues to pursue the Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic. With two Sea Shepherd ships, the whaling fleet can be kept on the run by one vessel while the other resupplies.
Captain Pete Bethune of the Ady Gil is returning on the campaign as an officer onboard the Steve Irwin. Four of the six Ady Gil crew disembarked from the Steve Irwin in Fremantle during its brief lay over.
"There is nothing that is easy about this campaign this year," said Captain Paul Watson. "The supply lines are long, the hunting area is vast, hostile, and remote, and this year the Japanese are more violently aggressive than any year before. Despite these obstacles, I am confident that we will once again be able to diminish kill quotas and that we will be able to save the lives of hundreds of whales."
Special thanks to the onshore Sea Shepherd volunteers who helped ensure the vessels swift turn around, including: Jeff Hansen, Heather Cue, Gavin Gillett, Liza Dicks, and Michael Hawkins.
Additional special thanks to Fremantle MLA Adele Carles and Helena Everkrans-Smith for helping to facilitate lodging for the returning Ady Gil crew after their high seas ordeal.
Photo Credit: Barbara Veiga / Sea Shepherd Conservation Society