MELBOURNE, Australia -- Terri Irwin has granted the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society permission to rename its ship currently known as Robert Hunter in honor 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 is 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.
"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," Terri said.
The objective of Operation Migaloo is to intervene against illegal whaling actions by the Japanese whaling fleet. 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 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 plight of the world's whales was extremely important to Steve. This was evident in Australia Zoo's launch of Steve's Whale One this winter, a whale-watching excursion boat that realised one of Steve's long-held dreams. Steve's Whale One is a way for people to see first-hand some of the most amazing creatures on earth and Steve was confident if people experienced this it would collectively inspire them to end the inhumane practice of whaling.
For more than three decades, Sea Shepherd has been at the forefront of the whale wars, defending the gentle giants, tackling overwhelming odds with insufficient resources, winning many victories, and saving the lives of thousands of whales, Sea Shepherd crews have effectively shut down dozens of whaling ships and operations. Operation Migaloo is named in honor of the only known living white humpback whale. The Steve Irwin will set sail for the Southern Oceans to defend the whales at 1500 hours from Melbourne Docklands.
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