The Steve Irwin's brief stay in Wellington, New Zealand provided the Sea Shepherd crew with everything they needed to return to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to continue their interception and disruption of the illegal Japanese whaling operations.
"We were able to take on all the donations of food, especially fresh produce, that we need for all three vessels," said Steve Irwin Chief Cook Laura Dakin of Canberra. "The crews on the Bob Barker and the Gojira will be happy, they have not had fresh vegetables or fruit for weeks."
Sea Shepherd's international appeal for funds to refuel the Steve Irwin was enormously successful, allowing the ship to take on a full load of 250,000 liters of marine diesel fuel. In addition to being refueled, the Steve Irwin took on enough provisions to also resupply both the Bob Barker and the Gojira. Furthermore, one of the Bob Barker's inflatable Zeppelin boats that was damaged in a confrontation with the whalers, has been completely repaired and is ready to be returned back to the vessel.
An incredible amount of donated tools, supplies, equipment, and services flooded onto the ship during the three days the vessel was berthed at Queen's Wharf in Wellington. The crew received complimentary dental services, along with donated meals at local dining establishments.
"The people of Wellington have been awesome in their support for the whales and our efforts to end whaling in the Southern Ocean," said Captain Paul Watson. "Within a week, we will be back with our other two ships on the trail of the Japanese whaling fleet, fully supplied, and with the ability to take our campaign to the end of the whaling season in March."
The crew of the Steve Irwin regretfully had to say goodbye to some very good shipmates and friends who had to leave the ship to return home to their families and work. These included the ship's manager Catherine Mansart of Belgium, 3rd Engineer Marybeth Thoren of the United States, 1st Officer Gunter Schwabenland and his wife Quartermaster Roberta Kleber both from Brazil, Communications Officer Douglas O'Neil of Tasmania, welder and deckhand Lar Steffens of Germany, and deckhand Michael Lindegger from Switzerland. We also dropped off Bob Barker's Communications Officer Fabrizio Sestini of Italy, and crewmember Mike Glab who unfortunately had to return to his home in Brisbane as his home was recently flooded during his service at sea.
Sea Shepherd has six new replacement crewmembers on the Steve Irwin to account for the eight that had to depart. They include new Communications Officer Nuno Ramos Fernandez of Spain, replacement engineer Bradley Latimer of New Zealand, and three replacement Australian deckhands Cassandra Smith from Queensland, Aisha Reynolds from Victoria, and Megan Jolley of Tasmania. Jeffrey Milstein also joins Sea Shepherd as Security Officer from the United States.
Thanks to all of our wonderful and dedicated supporters in New Zealand for their support and assistance in helping Sea Shepherd re-supply as quickly as possible to enable them to defend the whales of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.