Sea Shepherd’s MY Steve Irwin finds temporary retirement home in Port of Newcastle

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Ramming Japanese whalers and stopping illegal Chinese driftnets are a thing of the past for the MY Steve Irwin, the former flagship of an anti-whaling fleet.

The ship has found a temporary nursing home in the Port of Newcastle with owner Kerrie Goodall and her rescue dog, the Admiral.

After 17 successful campaigns with the conservation organization Sea Shepherd – which claims to have helped save the lives of over 6,000 whales – the ship is being restored by Ms Goodall with the aim of opening it to the public.

Ms Goodall hoped someone would step in to preserve the ship and its legacy when it was removed and sold to a Hong Kong scrapyard in 2018.

“That didn’t happen – I guess global pandemics don’t help that – so I did,” Ms Goodall said.

“I know the power of its appeal to educate and inspire people…to learn more about ocean conservation and consumer choices.”

The MY Steve Irwin has participated in anti-whaling protests with Sea Shepherd.(Supplied: Sea Shepherd)

After receiving her bill of sale for the ship from Sea Shepherd – a total of $10 – Ms Goodall set up the MY Steve Irwin as a pop-up restaurant and museum in Williamstown, Melbourne, before the pandemic hit.

“Every Sunday we had live music at the back of the ship,” she said.

But when COVID shut down Melbourne, pizza ovens were swapped for scissors as Ms Goodall and her team worked to restore the ship, removing more than 300 kilograms of rust.

“Thanks to hard lockdowns in COVID, I was coming down pretty much every afternoon and doing a lot of work on the ship,” she said.

“We removed most of the rust and put in new paint.”

A dog sits beside the helm of a ship, looking up imploringly.
Kerrie Goodall’s dog, the Admiral.(Provided: Kerrie Goodall)

New Chapter for Legendary Crafting

The ship has sailed around the world and its adventures are presented on board through images.

According to Sea Shepherd, the MY Steve Irwin has helped save the lives of over 6,000 whales.

“It’s probably the most documented ship in the world,” Ms Goodall said.

But Mrs. Goodall and the Admiral, who have made the craft their home, perhaps love it above all else.

“It’s a privilege, but it’s a lot of work,” Ms Goodall said.

“Just think of an old house and multiply it by 100 or more.”

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The moment activists are crushed between whalers and an oil tanker

She may have bought her house for a song, but Ms. Goodall has spent around $300,000 on it so far.

She said Newcastle was not the Steve Irwin’s final destination as she planned to eventually head north to Brisbane.

But she said she would definitely base the boat in Newcastle if the authorities allow it.

In the meantime, she plans to open the ship to the public soon, having started a nonprofit called Ship4Good to educate people about ocean conservation.

“I have been invited by the public to submit a Major Events grant application – we have a pretty exciting event planned if that happens,” Ms Goodall said.


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