Sea Shepherd to Build “Game Changing” Ship Thanks to Huge Donation

The battle against illegal whaling just took a turn for the good guys. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), longtime warriors against the illegal slaughter of marine animals, just got an incredible donation. It will use the money to fund a new ship for its fleet. Better, stronger, faster — Sea Shepherd is finally getting its “dream ship.”

Illegal whalers, watch your butts.

The money — a whopping $12 million — comes from the National Postcode Lottery, a Dutch charity that runs lotteries and gives half the proceeds to charities each year. Past recipients include Amnesty International, Greenpeace, UNICEF, and the World Food Programme, just to name a few.

Sea Shepherd’s proposal, Stop Illegal Fishing in the Southern Ocean, impressed lottery officials so much it won this year’s donation.

“That money will be used exclusively to construct a vessel that is faster and has a longer range and is stronger than any of the Japanese harpoon vessels,” Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson told the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC). “That has been our biggest handicap in the Southern Ocean is not being able to outrun those harpoon vessels. This vessel will enable us to do just that.”

For the First Time, the Need for Speed Won’t Stop the Sea Shepherd

Never before has the SSCS been able to custom design the exact ship it wants. Since 2002, SSCS has been lucky to receive and re-purpose a fleet of existing ships to meet its needs. Unfortunately, the ships are getting older and they’re simply not fast enough.

“Sea Shepherd will now be able to have a custom-designed ship built, capable of achieving speeds that far exceed any of the vessels in our current fleet,” said Sea Shepherd Global’s CEO, Alex Cornelissen, in a press release. “After researching possible ship builders for the last two years, negotiations with Dutch ship builder Damen has resulted in a blueprint of our ideal ship.”

It’s an impressive vessel indeed. Here’s the designer’s conceptual artwork:

Conceptual artwork for the forthcoming Sea Shepherd "dream ship."  Photo credit: Damen for Sea Shepherd

Conceptual artwork for the forthcoming Sea Shepherd “dream ship.” Photo credit: Damen for Sea Shepherd

“The ship will be a game-changer due to its speed and technology,” a Sea Shepherd spokesperson told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Japan: The Only Country Still Whaling in International Waters

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) adopted a resolution in 2014 designed to narrow an exception to its 1986 commercial whaling ban. For years, Japan has exploited the exception that allows the taking of whales for “scientific research” purposes. The new rules make it harder to demonstrate that taking of whales is necessary for research purposes.

Japan doesn’t care, apparently. After a year off, it announced in September 2014 that it intends to resume whaling, perhaps as early as 2015. In fact, Japan wants to “harvest” an appalling 4,000 minke whales over the course of the next 12 years. Japan has asked the IWC for permission for these takes, calling their intended slaughter a “scientific research” program. Japan’s not fooling anyone with that label and Sea Shepherd intends to be there to stop the whaling fleet.

The Steve Irwin, one of the Sea Shepherd's existing fleet.  Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Facebook page

The Steve Irwin, one of the Sea Shepherd’s existing fleet. Photo credit: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Facebook page

“The easiest way to stop whaling is to simply place a large vessel on the stern slipway of [Japan's] Nisshin Maru and prevent them from loading whales. If they can’t load whales they can’t kill whales,” Watson told ABC. Sea Shepherd needed to be fast enough to accomplish this positioning, and now it will be. Yes, it’ll be a game changer indeed.

Of course, the SSCS defends more than whales. Its takes action against the horrifying Japanese dolphin drive hunt at Taiji Cove, which kills hundreds and even thousands of dolphins every year. Most recently, it spent 22 days relentlessly pursuing Nigerian poachers who were illegally fishing for the endangered Patagonian toothfish in the Indian Ocean.

The Sea Shepherd dream ship, under construction in Vietnam, is anticipated to be ready for duty in 2016. Help can’t come soon enough for the world’s endangered marine species.

Photo credit (main image): Sea Shepherd Conservation Society


W. C.
W. C2 years ago


Magdalena J.
Past Member 4 years ago

Thank you!

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H4 years ago

Go get 'em, Sea Shepherd. Good comments Carla v, and Natasha S.

One question though. It said that Japan is the only one still whaling. What about Iceland? I thought they were, too.

Dorothy Macnak
Dorothy M4 years ago

Wow! How fabulous that Sea Shepherd will be an even more effective thorn in Japan's backside!

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus4 years ago

Thank you for sharing!

Janis K.
Janis K4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 4 years ago

This is just AWESOME! A big thanks to the Lottery who gave this beautiful go Watson--ram those whaling bastards to the ocean floor.

Carla van der Meer

I completely agree with Hamburger M, other countries should have lotteries for such noble endevores.
While I am on the topic, why aren't any world leaders coming down hard n the Japanese leadership for this crap (apparentely most Japanese don't even eat enough whale meat to justify the slaughter, it is done on the name of tradition). The same goes for my own country, Canada, and our annual seal hunt. It is a world wide embarassment and source of contempt, where is the condemnation? I want to see repricussions, embargoes etc until this stops, along with the Japanese whaling and the dolphin masacre.

Carla van der Meer

Thanks. I love the Sea Shepherd Society and Paul Watson is my hero ( and I have a bit of a crush on him).

Angela K.
Angela K4 years ago

The world needs more people like Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd !!!!


People, who only talk ..... well, we have enough of it !!!!