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The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s flagship, the “Steve Irwin” is at this time in American Samoa for refueling. Established in 1977, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization, with its mission being to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.

According to their website,, the Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately-balanced ocean ecosystems, Sea Shepherd works to ensure their survival for future generations.

The ‘Steve Irwin’—named for the famed Australian conservationist and wildlife expert who died tragically while filming in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef— departed Melbourne, Australia this past November 5th to begin the SSCS’s ‘Operation Zero Tolerance’ (OZT).

OZT is the ninth annual Southern Ocean campaign launched by the SSCS. According to the website, over these nine years, the Japanese whalers suffered tens of millions of dollars in losses attempting to illegally kill whales in Antarctica’s waters.

This time, instead of meeting the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, Sea Shepherd will meet the whalers in the North Pacific off of Japan.

In addition to the ‘Steve Irwin’ and their other vessels, the ‘Bob Barker’ and the ‘Brigitte Bardot’, the SSCS unveiled a fourth ship after the campaign got underway.  The ship “Sam Simon” will be deployed in the Southern Ocean to wait for the whaling fleet in the event the whalers elude the other Sea Shepherd ships. The ‘Bob Barker’ will depart later this month to meet the whalers and the ‘Steve Irwin’ at sea, along with the ‘Brigitte Bardot’.