After months of secrecy and build up, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society today unveiled their new fourth vessel – the SSS Sam Simon.
The ship, named in honor of its benefactor – “The Simpsons” co-creator and animal activist Sam Simon – was revealed at the Macquarie Wharf 1, Hobart, Tasmania.
“Thanks to the generosity of Sam Simon, co-creator of TV’s “The Simpsons,” our fleet is stronger than ever with the addition of this new vessel,” said Captain Paul Watson in a statement. “We have four ships, one helicopter, drones and more than 120 volunteer crew from around the world ready to defend majestic whales from the illegal operations of the Japanese Whaling Fleet.”
Speaking with the Australian paper The Age, Sea Shepherd skipper Locky MacLean revealed how the purchase of their new $2M ice strengthened boat came with a healthy dose of subterfuge. Emphasis in bold mine.
“The 56-metre ship was purchased through a third-party US company from its berth next to the whaling fleet in Japan, the activists said.
“Renamed New Atlantis and registered in Tuvalu, it was delivered by a Japanese crew to north Queensland, where they thought it was to be converted into a pleasure craft.
“Throughout the sale, the Japanese government was unaware that it was doing business with Sea Shepherd.”
Built as the “Seifu Maru” in 1993 by IHI shipyard in Tokyo, the ship was formerly operated by by Japan Meteorological Agency’s Maizuru observatory. And yes, the Japanese are going to be fuming that the Sam Simon was one of their own.
”They’ll probably be a bit peeved,” Captain McLean said.
An estimated $500,000 was spent to increase the ship’s speed and range. “The Sam Simon is quite fast,” Paul Watson said on Facebook. “We would not have purchased a ship that could not outrun the Nisshin Maru. We are very satisfied with the speed.”
Check out a video of Captain McLean speaking out the new vessel below.