SHIP VISIT: The Steve Irwin will stop in Airlie Beach on Tuesday.
SHIP VISIT: The Steve Irwin will stop in Airlie Beach on Tuesday. Sea Shepherd

Sea Shepherd flagship to make inaugural Whitsunday visit

FOR the first time the flagship of the Sea Shepard fleet, the Steve Irwin will be making Pioneer Bay a port of call during a state-wide east coast tour.

Local environment group Reef Action Whitsundays is co-hosting a traditional welcome by the people of the Ngaro and Juru tribes.

Traditional owners will meet the Steve Irwin in two wooden canoes and welcome the captain and crew's transfer to shore before a public onshore smoking ceremony, to be held at the Whisper bay VMR base.

When speaking with the Whitsunday Times, Sea Shepherd Australia's managing director Jeff Hansen described the Great Barrier Reef as "sick” and stated "Sea Shepherd is proud to stand with the Whitsunday community in defence of our Great Barrier Reef”.

"Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must stand up for our Great Barrier Reef, for the 64,000 Australian jobs the reef supports, and for any chance in a liveable climate for our children,” he said.

The 59 metre ship's visit is a stop on its way north to campaign against the Carmichael Adani mine and coal loading at Abbot Point.

RAW spokesperson Jonathan Peter says the Steve Irwin's east coast tour is to highlight the Australia-wide view that the Adani project must not go ahead.

"With 84 per cent of the nation opposed to handing over public funds to open up the Carmichael Basin, it would be a tragedy for the Great Barrier Reef and traditional owners of the country,” he said.

RAW will also be screening the award-winning documentary The Bentley Effect at the Whitsunday Sailing Club on Sunday night at 6pm and will be taking part in the annual Whitsunday Reef Festival at the weekend.

Ahead of Operation Reef Defence, Mr Hansen urged the Prime Minister to "do the right thing by our children”.

"And revoke Adani's approval, make the right choice in choosing coral over coal and a liveable climate for our children.”

All Whitsunday events are free.


  • WHAT: Operation Reef Defence
  • WHERE: Whisper Bay VMR base
  • WHEN: August 7, 11am-12.30pm
  • COST: Free