A little more than a month before the start of Operation Divine Wind, the new campaign to defend whales in the Southern Ocean, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society threw one last Hollywood bash on Oct. 29 to build support and raise some much needed cash.
From Martin Sheen to Alyssa Milano and Sarah Silverman, some 200 supporters from all over the entertainment industry came out en masse to the Pacific Palisades for "Stand Up for the [skipwords]Oceans[/skipwords]."
"It was a marvelous evening for marine wildlife," Captain Paul Watson said in a statement. "Thanks to our supporters, we raised thousands of dollars to enable us to defend the great whales once again from Japanese harpoon vessels during our upcoming Operation Divine Wind Campaign. We will return to the Southern Ocean with renewed fervor to stop the whalers from committing these illegal crimes against nature once and for all!"
Watson, 60, recently revealed on his Facebook page that all three ships in the SSCS fleet are en route (Steve Irwin, Bob Barker and Brigitte Bardot) to Australia. His group will face a Japanese whaling fleet that was recently granted nearly $30M over their annual $10M government subsidy for increased security protection from the activists.
"It's becoming difficult to secure the safety of the fleet," Japan's Fisheries Minister, Michihiko Kano, said earlier in the year after deciding to cut their 2010-2011 hunt short. "From the point of view of securing the safety of the lives, properties and research vessels, we have no choice but to bring the research to an end. It's regrettable that we received such obstruction. We need to do it in a way which we won't be obstructed from now on."
Current reports suggest that one security vessel will shadow the Japanese fleet, but it's unclear how the group plans to block attempts at interference from the SSCS three ships. In addition, rumors suggest that Paul Watson and Co. may have been successful in securing a fourth protest ship; something they publicly expressed need for back in July.
"We need one large vessel for each of the harpoon vessels. The Japanese tactic of tailing our two large ships to relay our position ahead to the factory ships works, but at the cost of sacrificing the whale killing activities of each harpoon vessel," said Captain Locky MacLean.
While nothing official has been released, you can expect Animal Planet to once more broadcast all of the drama surrounding this year's "Whale Wars" into your living room next summer. The network will also air a spin-off series documenting the conservation org's recent efforts to curb whaling in the Faroe Islands.
For more on Operation Divine Wind and how to help, check the official site here.