In what's an otherwise tense moment in their 35-year history, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has received a giant piece of good news.

Sam Simon, the former producer and co-creator of "The Simpsons" has announced that he will be providing funding for a new fourth vessel to stymie whalers in the Southern Ocean.

“I think this is the year we are going to end whaling once and for all,” Simon told a crowd at a recent 35th anniversary celebration for the organization.

“He [Paul Watson] said they needed something fast, and they needed something with a reinforced hull to battle the Japanese,” Simon said jokingly. “So next whaling season— if there is one, we’re not sure—the ‘Sam Simon’ will be bashing through ice, and hopefully we can end the atrocity of whaling in the southern ocean forever.”

Simon's generous gift comes as Paul Watson, who founded the SSCS, is awaiting a German court decision on an extradition charge to Costa Rica. The case stems from a high-seas confrontation over shark finning in 2002.

“I had to take action with my crew a decade ago to protect hundreds of sharks, and of course, those shark poachers have very powerful allies in government and other places,” Watson said after being freed on bail.

That Simon, 57, would decide to donate millions to secure a new ship is not surprising.
While not pursuing other interests outside the world of television (such as being a successful and avid professional poker player), Simon has put his wealth to good use. First there’s the “Sam Simon Foundation” dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating stray dogs that would otherwise be euthanized. These animals then go on to become service dogs for the disabled. His foundation also offers a free mobile spay and neutering program for low-income pet owners.

Last year, he launched the “Sam Simon Foundation Feeding Families” which provides food for people and animals in need. Oh yea – he’s also a board member for Save The Children, hosts the largest annual fundraiser for PETA, and rocks a vegan diet.

In other words, Simon is seriously committed to making the world a better place for people and animals.

In confirming the news, Paul Watson praised Simon for his generous cotribution and revealed a bit more about the new ship. In particular, his unique position to secure its readiness for this fall's anti-whaling campaign.

"The Sam Simon will soon join the Bob Barker, Steve Irwin, and Brigitte Bardot," Watson writes in a statement. "Sam Simon generously donated the funds to purchase the ship and we have found the perfect candidate, in of all places – Germany! As chance and Costa Rica would have it, I happen to be in Germany and in an excellent position to survey and prepare the ship to join us on our return to the Southern Ocean to once again confront the illegal whaling activities of the Japanese whaling fleet."

"I wish I could elaborate on the ship but until it is secured, outfitted, and ready for Whale Wars, that information has to remain classified. What I can say is that former German-government-owned ships are meticulously maintained and kept in good running order. It will not be a problem to have the new ship underway in time for the voyage to Australia and on to Antarctica."

The Sea Shepherd's next campaign, Operation Zero Tolerance, will kick off next December.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Sea Shepherd to add new vessel to fleet
Sam Simon, co-creator of 'The Simpsons,' announces that he will donate the millions needed to buy a German icebreaker for the anti-whaling group.