Sea Shepherd Australia has issued an appeal to supporters in the Byron shire and beyond to help get its flagship, the Steve Irwin, ready to fight Adani in Queensland waters.
The Steve Irwin is currently docked in Melbourne undergoing repairs to its engine, which are expected to cost about $250,000.
Sea Shepherd Australia managing director Jeff Hansen has told Echonetdaily that the people of Byron Shire had always been some of the strongest supporters of the organisation.
‘We’re getting the engine overhauled but we’re struggling because of a lack of funding,’ Mr Hansen said.
‘But as soon as it’s done we’ll be taking the ship up to the Great Barrier Reef to oppose Adani.’
Mr Hansen said it had been a long time since Sea Shepherd had visited the area, but a stop-off at Byron would definitely be on the agenda.
‘It all depends on depths but would would be able to anchor in the Bay and run tenders to shore and back,’ he said.
‘There has been such overwhelming support from people and businesses in that area that it would be great to stop and visit.’
Mr Hansen said Adani’s proposed coal mine was an even greater threat to whales and the health of the oceans than the Japanese whalers in the Antarctic.
‘The increase in vessel traffic causing ship strikes, spills and noise pollution will have a catastrophic impact on Australia’s whales,’ he said.
‘If the Australian government will not oppose whaling by Japan, the very least it can do is protect the whales birthing grounds and put an end to this madness of the Adani coal mine.
Mr Hansen said polls showed that the majority of Australians opposed the Adani coal mine.
‘… and why shouldn’t they with such a corrupt and dishonest operator, who has already polluted our Great Barrier Reef, shows no regard to the health of our planet, and is cozying up to our government for an almost one billion dollar concessional loan of Australian tax payers money.
‘On top of that, the negligible jobs on the table put at risk 64,000 indirect and direct jobs the Great Barrier Reef creates.
“Sea Shepherd’s flagship vessel, the Steve Irwin has defended the whales in their Antarctic feeding grounds for over a decade and protected the whales off the Kimberley coast and the Great Australian Bight.
Steve Irwin himself was an iconic conservationist so it makes sense that he would have been opposing the Adani coal mine.
‘Given most of the air we breathe comes from our oceans, they truly are our life support system,’ he said.
‘However through the burning of fossil fuels our oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, having a massive impact on our Great Barrier Reef, phytoplankton and the overall health of our ocean ecosystems.
‘Quite simply, our planet’s ability to support life hangs by a thread, and if we want to have a liveable climate in the future for our children, we can simply not allow this Adani coal mine to go ahead. Losing this one is not an option.’
Mr Hansen said it was hoped that enough funds would be raised to complete the engine overhaul so that the Steve Irwin could get underway early next year.
And although he would not say what tactics the group might use in the battle against Adani, he did say ‘our record speaks for itself’.