Crew taking a brief break in the exposed hull of the shipCrew taking a brief break in the exposed hull of the ship.  Photo: Tim WattersAfter more than a month in dry dock, the flagship of the Sea Shepherd fleet has departed Launceston, Tasmania after extensive repairs. The Steve Irwin has had a new paint job, hull repairs, new propeller and numerous other minor jobs completed. The ship is now ready to take on the Japanese whalers if needed. Launceston has welcomed the ship with open arms and all the crew are humbled by the support and generosity shown over the past month. The return of the ship to Williamstown, Victoria will conclude one of the biggest endeavours taken for a ship repair by Sea Shepherd in recent times.

“It has been amazing to have the Steve Irwin in Launceston for a whole month. So many people have been talking about it around the town. The community has really embraced the ship and the crew. I think for many people in Launceston it has given them a huge lift and we are going to be very sad to see the Steve Irwin go,” said Deputy Mayor of Launceston, Alderman Jeremy Ball.

"Sea Shepherd's flag ship vessel is the Steve Irwin, she has successfully completed 10 Antarctic whale defence missions, saving the lives of thousands of whales. She was in much need of some TLC and emerges from the dry dock, stronger, faster and better than ever before as the effective weapon against the illegal exploitation of the oceans," said Jeff Hansen, Sea Shepherd Australia Managing Director.

New propellerNew propeller"Today the Steve Irwin departs Launceston for her home port of Williamstown as a leaner, fitter and faster vessel to combat the Japanese Whale poachers. This has primarily been achieved due to the tireless dedication and work of our passionate ocean warriors on board the flagship along with the assistance of Southern Marine Shiplift, the yard where the vessel was overhauled. At the conclusion of the dry dock, I would like to thank our supporters from across the world for helping us keep our old ships in prime condition that enables us to keep returning to the harsh conditions of the Southern Ocean," said Captain Sid Chakravarty, Ships Operations Officer.

"The Steve Irwin - Stronger, Faster, More Effective. The Steve Irwin has new hull plating and a brand new prop. This will greatly increase the speed and efficiency of the ship. The Steve Irwin will be ready to take on the whale poachers when they return to the Southern Ocean. The Bob Barker and the Sam Simon are also being made ready for the return to Antarctica," said Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd founder.

The Steve Irwin in drydockThe Steve Irwin in drydock The Steve Irwin back in the water with new paint jobThe Steve Irwin back in the water with new paint job
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