The full Sea Shepherd press release:
Victorious return for Sea Shepherd fleet
Mar. 20, 2013 – Melbourne, Australia:
Sea Shepherd Australia is proud to welcome home the 110 strong international crew and three ships, the Steve Irwin, Sam Simon and Bob Barker. They have arrived into Williamstown this morning after a historic campaign defending whales in the Southern ocean. Their return marks an end to the most successful campaign to date, with the Japanese whalers returning home with the lowest kill ever. All three Sea Shepherd ships were damaged after being struck multiple times by the 8,000 ton Nisshin Maru. The Sea Shepherd crew have endured attacks by concussion grenades and hit with water cannons. After all they have endured during their non-violent defence of whales, they return home knowing they will be recognized as heroes by Australians and supporters across the globe.
“Sea Shepherd Australia’s Operation Zero Tolerance has been Sea Shepherds most successful campaign to date. It has been a real honor to co-lead this campaign with conservation champion, Bob Brown. The support from all over the world has been very humbling and our team here in Australia has worked courageously behind the scenes supporting the bravest crew Sea Shepherd has ever seen. However, it is all with a heavy heart as the man that started it all, defending Australia’s whales in the Australian Antarctic Territory, Captain Paul Watson, can not be stepping a shore because the Australian Government will not announce his safe passage into Australia. A man that is an Australian hero, doing the work that the Australian government refuse to do, that the Australian public want done, is once again forced to go into hiding,” said Jeff Hansen, Director Sea Shepherd Australia.
“The really big welcome awaits Sea Shepherd founder, Paul Watson, when and if the Government clears his path to Melbourne,” said Bob Brown, Chair Sea Shepherd Australia.
“Sea Shepherd’s ninth campaign to Antarctica was named Operation Zero Tolerance because illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary in violation of an Australian Federal Court Ruling prohibiting the killing of threatened, endangered and protected whales cannot, and will
not, be tolerate by Sea Shepherd. It is with great pride that the Sea Shepherd crew returns to Melbourne, secure in the knowledge that everything was done in accordance with the law to give the whale poachers the worst killing season that they have ever had in history, in no small part thanks to the support of the whaling-loving people of Australia,” said Captain Peter Hammarstedt, Bob Barker
“Every single crew member can go home today proud of the fact that they have returned triumphant from the Southern Ocean having saved the lives of hundreds of whales. It has taken us 4 months and 15 days and more sea miles than it takes to circumnavigate the globe to ensure that Operation Zero Tolerance lived up to its name. The determination, resolve, strength and passion of the crews along with Sea Shepherd Australia has made this the most successful Southern Ocean campaign in 9 years,” said Captain Siddharth Chakravarty, Steve Irwin
“The entire crew of the Sam Simon and myself are happy that our months of hard work and hardship translated into a victory for life, beauty and nature, showing that determined people when united can achieve great feats, such as stopping greedy and illegal interests from damaging Antarctica’s pristine Eco-systems,” said Captain Luis Manuel Pinho, Sam Simon.
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