End Games Part IV: The Ocean’s Warriors – the Sea Shepherd Fleet

End Games Part IV: The Ocean’s Warriors – the Sea Shepherd Fleet

Sea Shepherd now comprises the largest and most diverse fleet it’s had since 1979.

Sea Shepherd Netherlands has received approximately one million Euros annually from the Dutch Postcode Lottery.  Last year, however, it won more than eight million Euros in a competition with other organizations, this time to build their dream ship.  The result was MV OCEAN WARRIOR , a Damen Shipyard-built upgraded steel-hulled FCS 5009 ship that launched earlier this year.  Capable of thirty knots, OCEAN WARRIOR is currently in Australia awaiting Operation NEMESIS – Sea Shepherd’s latest campaign to challenge whalers in the Southern Ocean.  Unlike previous campaigns in which an increasing number of ships got underway, only OCEAN WARRIOR and STEVE IRWIN (which will serve as the supply ship) will conduct the campaign.  “OCEAN WARRIOR has more powerful engines,” said Watson, “room for a crew of fourteen and a huge water cannon.”  The ship’s mission will be to block the slipway of the whale factory ship NISSHIN MARU.

Overfishing and illegal fishing represent the rare alignment of political interests. For liberals, the preservation of marine life is paramount.   For conservatives, plentiful fish stock means less expensive seafood for consumers, sufficient future resources for business growth, opportunities for innovation, and the enforcement of laws against widespread illegal poachers.  For libertarians, organizations like Sea Shepherd are a grass-roots, private sector alternative to government whose innovation comes from a lack of bureaucracy and individual initiative to solve a problem.  

What this all means is that organizations have identified a need that countries are unable or unwilling to fulfill whether if it is maritime security or challenging illegal fishing .  In part, it represents capacity-building and public-private partnerships that can address some of the ocean’s challenges and why states must include NGOs and PMSCs in their consideration of solving certain issues like this.

End Games Part I: There Aren’t Always Enough Fish in the Sea

End Games Part II: Combatting the Scourge of Illegal Fishing

End Games, Part III: Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson, the Ocean’s Realist

Claude Berube is the co-editor of Maritime Private Security: Market Responses to Piracy, Terrorism and Waterborne Security Risks in the 21st Century (Routledge, 2012.)  He has taught in the Political Science and History Departments at the U.S. Naval Academy.  The views expressed are his and not those of the Department of the Navy.

Image: J J Harrison via Wikimedia