Our three ships the Steve Irwin, Bob Barker and Sam Simon docked without incident at Williamstown to a warm reception from friends, family and supporters. The Australian Federal Police did not board the ships as they have done in the past and Customs and Immigration went smoothly and quickly. After five months at sea for the Steve Irwin and three months at sea for the Bob Barker and the Sam Simon, the crews were happy indeed to step onshore again and all the more happy to return after such a successful season of interventions against the illegal whaling activities of the Japanese whaling fleet.
So now we move from blocking whalers at sea to fighting them in the courts. I believe that justice will prevail and that the bogus charges against Sea Shepherd and myself will be successfully countered with the evidence.
But be that as it will, the fact remains that the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary is a sanctuary both in fact and in law and preventing whales from being slaughtered in a sanctuary for whales is the right thing to do and we are all dedicated to doing so.
The international crew of Sea Shepherd volunteers on all four ships did an incredible job this year. I hope that many of them will return if we need to go back. Some will, and some will not. It is a big commitment to take so much time, to take such risks in such cold and unpredictable weather in such a remote and hostile environment and to do so without pay. Many of the crew made personal sacrifices to join the campaign. For some they cannot afford to return but I am sure however that there are many passionate people waiting for the opportunity to sign on for the next campaign.
In the meantime we need to repair the ships. We are at a disadvantage because Sea Shepherd USA cannot provide funds for the repair of the ships. So we are looking for welders, engineers, electricians, carpenters, and plumbers in addition to donations of funds and materials in Australia.
As for me, I remain at sea, out of reach of Japan’s angry, long and powerful tentacles. The situation is what it is and the very fact that Japan so desperately wishes to silence me gives me assurances that we are hurting their whaling operations tremendously.
Japan is a powerfully rich nation and they are used to taking what they want from the sea without opposition. I am but one person and Sea Shepherd is but one small non-governmental organization yet we have brought their glorified welfare whale murdering program to its knees.
The whalers have the money, the political influence and an army of lawyers and public relations firms. They have the full support of the Japanese government and they have the support of the Yakusa.
We only have the passion of people worldwide who want to see whaling ended and the whale sanctuaries protected. I think that passion is stronger than their greed and will allow us to vanquish the whalers from the Southern Ocean.
We may lose, the courts may destroy us, Japan may capture me and lock me away for years or forever. The whaling fleet may return with more subsidies and military support.
But if I am not leading the Sea Shepherd ships, others will. If they tear Sea Shepherd apart, another organization will arise. If they destroy our ships, they will be replaced.
I am confident that for as long as Japan attempts to kill whales in the Sanctuary, they will be opposed.
If we can’t save whales in a whale sanctuary, we won’t be able to save anything in the sea from being eradicated in the name of human short sightedness and greed.
Operation Zero Tolerance is officially over. Now Sea Shepherd will carry on, working on other campaigns to protect the dolphins at Taiji, the pilot whales in the Faeroes, the seals in Namibia, the sharks in the South Pacific, the tuna in the Mediterranean, the fishes off the coast of Africa and our work to defend the Galapagos National Park Marine Reserve.
To each and every person who made Operation Zero Tolerance a success, a sincere and grateful "Thank you."