The fight has just begun for the Great Australian Bight

The fight has just begun

Operation Jeedara Update

August 27th 2016

Today at 11:00 AM AEST, the MY Steve Irwin returned to Seaworks, Willamstown, Sea Shepherd’s ship operation base to complete the ship component for Operation Jeedara.

On board were thirty volunteer crew representing Indigenous Australia, Netherlands, France, Britain, USA, New Zealand, Germany and Australia. Their hearts and minds opened up to the beauty and wonder of the Great Australian Bight and with that, their resolve and determination to defend it.

Our mission now is to showcase our footage in a documentary to the world of what we all stand to lose if BP is allowed to drill for oil in seas deeper, rougher and more remote than in the Gulf of Mexico. Especially given six yeas on the Gulf is still an environmental mess with millions of litres of oil sitting on the ocean floor and industries like the oyster industries not recovered.

The missions goals and objectives have been completed.

We have captured breathtaking footage of what BP is putting at risk. The documentary is rapidly coming together and is guaranteed to be a visual feast that shows that the Great Australian Bight is worthy of World Heritage recognition and no place for an oil field.

With the Great Australian Bight Alliance, we have taken this fight from a state campaign to a national and global one, with state, national and global media stories going out about the beauty and wonder of the Bight that BP threatens. With much more work to be done here.

We have engaged with towns and communities that would be affected by a spill, who have come out stronger than ever against BP with more coming on-board as well as Industries like the oyster industries, that would be destroyed by a spill, as 6 years on, the oyster industry in the Gulf of Mexico has still not recovered, so rightfully, they are concerned.

Over 3,000 people in Port Adelaide through public tours and the concert with John Butler, have seen the footage of the Bight, resulting in a deeper sense of pride for Australia and with that their willingness to protect it for our kids.

We have engaged with key political parties like the Greens and Xenophon parties who have come out strong against BP’s plans, as well as many council’s who are now coming out in defence of the Bight.

Although the ship component of Sea Shepherd's Operation Jeedara is complete, the fight has only just begun.

Although we all do what we do for the mission, for the whales, for maintaining the health of humanities life support system, our oceans, we would like to acknowledge those that have made this mission a huge succuss.

Our Volunteer Sea Shepherd crew


Captain Wyanda Lublink, for being our passionate, determined and charismatic captain for Operation Jeedera. We could not ask for a more suited person to captain the Irwin in defence of the Bight. To the rest of our bridge team for working around the clock in getting us to where we need to be, consisting of officers and quartermasters, thank you James Brook, Haans Silver, Katie Watts, Crystal Chambers and Geoff Cann.


Operation Jeedara involved countless small boat runs around the clock and our deck team were always up for the challenge to get the job done, no matter the time of day or the conditions. Led by Sam Docker, a young fellow with passion, determination and wise beyond his years, did a stellar job in leading an awesome deck crew consisting of Sarah Burris, Lincoln Murdoch, Max Bohac, Peter Wiseman, Heloise Lebon, Vincent Imbert and Anna Tough.


The days were long and tough going at times on Operation Jeedara, but what kept us fighting fit was the incredible, tasty and nutritious food put our by our wonderful galley crew led by the ever creative and loving Chloe Kobel with her dynamic team of Bridgette Gower and Kate Rowe, thanks so much galley girls.

Engine Room

The Steve Irwin required a mountain of engineering work to get her ready for Operation Jeedara and then to keep us going for the entire campaign through all sorts of conditions. Being an engineer on a ship is not for the feint hearted, and being suck in the engine room, you can often miss out on seeing that albatross, or that whale or pod of dolphins on the bow. It’s a role that requires that extra bit of selfless focus on the mission at hand. So thanks so much to our engineers lead by our long time Chief Engineer in Campbell Holland, with Pablo Watson, Leigh Acott, Jon Stone and Eric Burns.


This campaign was a logistical nightmare in terms of the amount of stops, events, locations and contacts at each place, community engagement and not to mention the permits required for filming and shore access at places like Pearson Island the Isles of St Francis. Even being my EA and national shark campaign coordinator, Natalie Banks still stepped up to the plate and brought all these areas together beautifully as Operation Jeedara’s logistics lead. The campaign would not have been the success it was without your incredible attention to detail Natalie, you rock, thank you so much.

Another amazing lady is Tamm-Jo Sutton from the Wilderness Society, who was instrumental in bringing together many of the logistics and community engagement for many of our key locations and events, like Victor Harbor, Fowlers Bay, Port Adelaide and Kangaroo Island, you’re an absolute star TJ, thank you!


We had one of the nicest, hard working and talented communications officers on Operation Jeedara, in Nikolaj Heinzler, from Germany. Niko was always available to keep our communications going for Operation Jeedara so we could communicate to the outside world off the Steve Irwin. Thanks so much Niko, you were a fantastic comms officer with such a positive attitude and it was great getting to know you.

Media Production

Everything about this campaign was to get us in the position to capture the beauty of the Bight and what BP is putting at risk. From the donors, staff, volunteers, captain and crew, we all did our part, then it was up to our media production team of Tim Watters and Eliza Muirhead and they did not in the slightest let the Great Australian Bight down. From the Galapagos, to whaling, to the Faeroes and to the Kimberley, you have been instrumental in telling Sea Shepherd’s and our clients story in such a way that we are always proud of, thank you for your passion and dedication for all you do for all life on our planet.

Special mention also to Brad Leue, who also came onboard Operation Jeedara, who is working on a broader documentary about the alliance and the ground support and rallies. Loved learning more about your passion for nature Brad, both on and off the land which you capture so beautifully. Great having you onboard Operation Jeedara Brad.

John & Jahli Butler

John has been a long time defender of our planet and always an articulate and passionate speaker reaching hundreds of thousands of people through his music and his activism. It was such a treat having John and our newest crew member Jahli, staying onboard the Irwin with us. There is great synergy on many levels with John also joining the Steve Irwin back in 2012 in defence of the Kimberley. Thanks for being part of Operation Jeedara John and Jahli, you have been a massive help to the campaign so far.

Merryn Redenbach - Medical Officer / Bridge – Medical Advisory Panel

Thanks so much Merryn for being our doctor onboard Operation Jeedara, you have been a long time defender of all life and your commitment to the oceans goes back many years. Thanks so much Merry for juggling your life to assist all our medical needs for this vital campaign.

David Field - Actor / Sea Shepherd Ocean Champion

Thanks David for coming onboard Operation Jeedara, you were such a cracker fit onboard mate on so many levels. You fitted in so well with the crew and felt like one of the family in no time. Looking forward to working on other projects in defence of the oceans with you. Thanks mate.

Bunna Lawrie

Thank you Uncle Bunna for being our guide on Operation Jeedara, four Mirning Elder and whale song man. It was an honour and a privilege for us all to be welcomed to your country and to see how powerful your connection is to the land, to the sea and to the whales. How deeply you care for the whales and how for thousands of years, your ancestors, have cared for the land, and the sea and the whales. We have learnt so much from you and we loved having you onboard Operation Jeedara. Thank you Uncle Bunna.

Bob Brown

Thanks Bob for joining us on Operation Jeedara mate. You are one of Australia’s greatest conservationists and your love for this planet and all life that resides here is infectious. You always seem right at home amongst our crew and your life force always lifts the energy of any room you enter. So great you could sail with us and see the whales at the head of the bight and step ashore at Fenelon Island, part of the Isles of St Francis archipelago. Thanks for everything Bob.

Peter Owen

Thanks for joining us on Operation Jeedara Peter as part of the Great Australian Bight Alliance; your knowledge of the areas we visited was invaluable on this campaign. Thank you also for all the work you spearheaded to see the establishment of marine sanctuaries and marine parks in the places we visited. I know you have suffered many personal and family sacrifices to leave this legacy, so it was great that through Operation Jeedara, you were able to see these places like Pearson, Nuyts Reef and Isles of St Francis for the first time.

Wilderness Society South Australian volunteers and Sea Shepherd Volunteers

Sea Shepherd knows that our on shore crew is the backbone of our org; they give up their weeknights and weekends to go into bat in defence of the oceans. Though rain, hail, cold and scorching heat, they are there on the frontline to raise the necessary funds (on no commission) and awareness to keep the mission strong. This campaign involved many events in many locations and our onshore volunteer crews did not in the slightest let the mission down, in fact you excelled at every opportunity. From Victor Harbor, to Fowlers Bay, to Port Adelaide with the tours, merch and event and then onto Kangaroo Island, you all smashed it. Thanks so much to Sea Shepherd Adelaide (Radelaide) and TWIS SA volunteers for all you have done to help Operation Jeedara and the Great Australian Bight Alliance. Special mention and thanks goes to Andrew Correll and Crystal Chambers for your many hours of driving between Fowlers Bay and Head of the Bight among everything else, special thanks to “Re Becca” and Shannan Kimberley for one of the best Sea Shepherd events ever with John Butler, thanks to everyone.


Most of Sea Shepherd’s work is conducted by on shore and at sea volunteers. We only have a handful of staff coordinating the volunteers and campaigns, meaning that we strive to be as effective as we can be with the limited resources we have in defence of our life giving oceans. In fact, because we have been so effective with delivering results for the world’s oceans, there is a perception out there that we are a big organisation with adequate funding; however, nothing could be further from the truth. When we put the call out to raise the necessary funds, we meant it when we said that if we didn’t raise the money, we could not do the campaign. However, because of our supporters and a number of larger donors, this campaign became real. Thanks so much for your faith and trust in us in continuing to be as effective as we can be for the oceans. United, we will continue to defend our oceans for future generations.

Thanks also to the staff and boards of Sea Shepherd Australia and Sea Shepherd Global for working tirelessly and supporting this campaign, for being readily available even on weekends (thanks team IT, Adam, Megs), to keep the campaign running.

To everyone else, thanks for all your help in getting onboard this vital fight to defend, conserve and protect the Great Australian Bight from the threats of BP wanting to drill for oil in seas deeper, rougher and more remote than in the Gulf of Mexico.

Although BP is a massive company with an army of recourses, what we have that they don’t is the passion and determination for life on our wondrous planet. An understanding that given the state of our life giving oceans and our planets life support systems, we have no choice but to stand up and fight against BP. For the alternative is to do nothing and that is something that is completely unacceptable, and if there is one thing worth fighting for on this planet, we call home, its life.

Although the ship component of Operation Jeedara is complete, the fight has only just begun in defence of the Great Australian Bight.

For the Oceans,

Jeff Hansen
Operation Jeedara campaign leader
Managing Director - Sea Shepherd Australia
Director – Sea Shepherd Global

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