Standing on the helipad aboard Sea Shepherd’s decommissioned flagship vessel, the Steve Irwin, the view of the bay and Melbourne’s skyline is phenomenal.
Yarraville’s Kerrie Goodall, founder of the Ship for Good philanthropic organisation, said the vessel will be permanently moored at Williamstown’s Seaworks maritime precinct.
Ms Goodall has spearheaded a campaign to “Save the Steve”, which had been destined to be scrapped in Hong Kong.
Ideas for the ship include live music on deck, a vegan restaurant, bar, barber, tattoo studio and accommodation in the quaint cabins.
Sea Shepherd’s anti-whaling history and last two campaigns – to stop the Adani coal mine and drilling in the Great Australian Bight – are portrayed in Defend, Conserve Protect, a documentary produced by Melbourne’s Stephen Amis.
Narrated by Dan Aykroyd, the film won best international feature documentary at last year’s American Documentary Film Festival and will premiere at Yarraville’s Sun Theatre this month.
Ms Goodall said although the Steve had been retired from Neptune’s Navy – the name of Sea Shepherd’s fleet – it still had a lot to give to the cause through entertainment, education and inspiration.
“There’s a lot of love for the Sea Shepherd and what they do, and fortunately a lot of that love comes from wealthy and famous people,” she said.
“Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis donated that retractable helideck to protect the helicopter, which was sent out to search for illegal fishing vessels.
“Often, if it came into contact with Japanese whalers, they would throw things to foul up the helicopter and essentially damage their props, so the helicopter hangar was built to protect it.
“But up on deck is an absolutely amazing, protected view … of Melbourne city and Hobsons Bay and the West Gate.
“The aft, which is the deck under that, also is more protected and has beautiful views.”
Speaking aboard the Steve Irwin last week, Amis said he went on a number of campaigns with Sea Shepherd to shoot the film.
“Sometimes the Japanese would put chains out – quite often they’d run chains to try and prop-foul boats,” he said.
“On this particular [anti-whaling] campaign, a lot of the Japanese crew were indebted to the Yakuza so there was a lot of Yakuza members on the ships.
“On this campaign and other campaigns since, quite often – even the Sun Laurel tanker that’s depicted in the film – there was a lot of slave labour that was there, so there was a lot of bottles being thrown over the side at the Sea Shepherd crew … you’d open it up and there was like [a message], ‘We’re being held captive, can you please rescue us’.
“It’s the wild west out in the Southern Ocean.”
Defend, Conserve Protect will screen on Wednesday, June 12, from 6.30pm at the Sun Theatre in Yarraville.