Moored off the coast of Byron Bay on Friday, the Sea Shepherd’s flagship vessel the MY Steve Irwin was there to point out the insanity of building the Adani Carmichael coal mine, the biggest ever Australian coal mine.
While all the important people were off making speeches at the Byron Lighthouse I got to go on board and met some of the dedicated crew that are making the journey up the coast from Melbourne to Abbot Point. They are making the journey as part of the Stop Adani Alliance that represents almost 40 organisations and millions of Australians calling for an end to the Adani Carmichael coal mine.
‘Climate change is a global issue,’ said Scott Wallace, campaign leader of Sea Shepherd’s Operation Reef Defence.
‘If Adani was a country it would be the fifteenth largest polluter, if you include both the operation of the mine and the burning of the fuel.’
But it is not just the broader issue of climate change, that the Climate Council has predicted will lead to devastating bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef every second year by 2034, that is being highlighted.
It is also predicted that the full operation of the Adani mine will require an extra 500 ships to annually access the port of Abbot Point and will lead to direct impacts including: clearing away of reef habitat for the development of Abbot Point Terminal Zero; dredging; vessel collisions with whales, dolphins and other marine life; as well as the risks of ship groundings and fuel and oil spills that will severely affect the reef.
‘We need to do everything we can to stop the single largest coal mine in Australia being built,’ Mr Wallace said.
This was echoed at the official press conference on Cape Byron by managing director of Sea Shepherd Australia, Jeff Hansen, who stated that the ‘Sea Shepherd stands proud and strong with Byron in opposition to the Adani coal mine, in defence of the Great Barrier Reef, and for a liveable climate for our children.’
‘Byron Bay is one of Sea Shepherd’s strongest ground support bases for the oceans, under the leadership of our brave and tireless eco warrior, Adam Shostak. So many of Sea Shepherd’s campaigns over the years in defence of the world’s oceans, humanity’s primary life support system, would simply not have happened without the support of the wonderful Byron Bay community.
‘United, together, there is nothing we cannot achieve, for if there is one thing worth fighting for on this planet, it’s life.’
The Sea Shepherd is currently in Brisbane (July 30) and will be running free ship tours between 11am and 5pm.