The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on Tuesday unveiled its newest addition to the fleet, the SSS (as in Sea Shepherd Ship) Sam Simon.
Named after the man who gave Sea Shepherd the money to purchase it – Sam Simon is co-creator of “The Simpsons” – the SSS Sam Simon was unveiled today in the port of Hobart, Tasmania where it is preparing to depart on Sea Shepherd’s newest campaign, “Operation Zero Tolerance.”
The all white, 56- meter vessel is registered in Melbourne, Australia, and will carry a crew of 24 international volunteers who are ready to brave the Southern Ocean – and the infamous Sea Shepherd antics – in order to seek out and shut down the illegal Japanese whaling fleet.
The vessel itself was built in 1993 by IHI shipyard in Tokyo and was formerly used as a research ship by the Japanese Government – go figure! The Sam Simon features an ice-strengthened hull and was operated by the Maizuru Meteorogical Observatory, a department of the Japan Meteorological Agency, up until 2010.
Captain of the Sam Simon, Locky Maclean, stated: “After months of secrecy, it is such a great feeling to finally be able to fly the Sea Shepherd flag from the main mast, and yes, Sea Shepherd now owns a real Japanese research ship!”
The Sam Simon will join three other Sea Shepherd ships in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary this year as part of Operation Zero Tolerance.
On a side note, “Captain” Paul Watson re-emerged recently to join the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in their latest campaign. Watson has been on the lamb since July when he skipped bail in Germany to avoid extradition to Costa Rica where he faces several charges stemming from an altercation with the Guatemalan Navy.