Operation Jeedara

Much of the landscapes and diversity of life in the Great Australian Bight is unknown to the world. It is Sea Shepherd’s aim to showcase what we would all lose if BP were allowed to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight and had another Gulf of Mexico, Deep Water Horizon oil spill of lesser or equal value.
Stop drilling in the Bight


Sea Shepherd Australia is part of the Fight for the Bight Alliance, whose mission is to stop BP from drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight. BP was responsible for the world’s biggest oil spill accident, the Deep-water Horizon tragedy in 2010, when 800 million litres of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days. BP then used dispersant that made the spill 52 times more toxic to the ocean, Mexico marine life and people of the Gulf of Mexico. Six years on, industries, tourism and the environment have not recovered and millions of litres of oil sit on the ocean floor and dolphin mums are giving birth to stillborn calves. Now, BP is seeking approval to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight in waters deeper, more remote and rougher than in the Gulf of Mexico. Given the recent oil spill this year by Shell in the Gulf of Mexico, if BP is allowed to drill for oil in the Bight, we believe it’s not a question of if there is a spill, but when – a spill here would be impossible to clean up.

Why Operation Jeedara?
Bunna Lawrie is the Mirning (Indigenous)
Elder and whalesong man of the Nullabor, Great Australian Bight. Bunna Lawrie speaks of the place in the poetry of a people who have lived at the edge of that frontier for maybe 50,000 years. “I’m the whale song man Bunna Lawrie – Whale songman and Mirning elder from the Nullarbor on the Great Australian Bight, the Great Australian Bight is the greatest whale nursery on this planet. The whale story where I come from is my university, my school. It’s the place where our beautiful Southern Right Whales come to calve their young, to teach their young to travel on the next journey. Whales like Sperm Whales, Blue Whales, Pygmy Blue Whales, Killer Whales, Humpback Whales – they travel down there to honour that great journey, that song, that story of the great white whale Jeedara that is there now.” – Bunna Lawrie, Mirning Elder – whalesong man. In honouring Bunna and the Mirning and the great white whale, with permission, we have named our campaign Operation Jeedara, Sea Shepherd’s Bight defence campaign.

Climate Change
There is now irrefutable evidence that climate change is real. With the impacts of climate change being felt on the land and the sea, our planets ability to support life hangs by a thread. With the recent Paris Climate Summit agreement, in a bid to keep temperatures below a global 1.5 degrees celcius increase, we have to keep all remaining fossil fuels in the ground. Drilling for more climate altering oil is another nail in our planet’s coffin. (sourced https://www.seashepherd.org.au/jeedara/overview/operation-jeedara[27/02/2017 7:57:05 PM])

The Campaign
What will the Steve Irwin be doing?
On Friday 5th August 2016, we will depart our ships operations base in Williamstown, Melbourne en route to the Great Australian Bight. The expedition will Steve Irwin vessel on patrol in Southern Ocean during Operation Relentless. Photo: Tim Watters/Sea Shepherd showcase the Great Australian Bight and highlight what is actually at stake – a wilderness of global significance. From the Nuyts Reef, the Isles of St Francis, Pearson Island, Neptune Islands, areas around Kangaroo Island, Fowlers Bay and Head of the Bight (southern right whale nurseries), right through to the iconic Bunda Cliffs of the Nullarbor Plain. Much of the landscapes and diversity of life in the Great Australian Bight is unknown to the world. It is Sea Shepherd’s aim to showcase what we would all lose if BP were allowed to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight and had another Gulf of Mexico, Deep Water Horizon oil spill of lesser or equal value. We are going in August because that is when we believe the highest concentration of whales will be there, in terms of southern right whales and their calves. BP is planning to drill at the end of 2016. A documentary of the Steve Irwin’s journey in the bight will be made. This will be completed around a month after the Steve Irwin arrives back in port, around October. However, a trailer will be made that will be ready for showing as we come into Port Adelaide, to be shown during free public tours of the ship and a call to action. The trailer and in the end documentary, will also go out online and spread globally. We will capture the imagery and the story of what we could all lose is BP is allowed to drill for oil in the Bight. We will then do our best to push out our images, footage and story globally to put as much pressure on BP to leave the Great Australian Bight alone.

Who will be on the vessel?
Onboard the vessel will be our brave, passionate and hardworking Sea Shepherd volunteer International crew. Also will be one of Australia’s most well known conservationists and former leader of the Australian Greens, Dr. Bob Brown. As this campaign is part of the Great Australian Bight Alliance, onboard will be the head of Wilderness Society in South Australia, Peter Owen, Whale Songman and Mirning Elder Bunna Lawrie will also be onboard along with other Mirning elders. Jeff Hansen, Managing Director of Sea Shepherd Australia will also sail on the Irwin as the campaign leader for Operation Jeedara. Meet the Crew.

This is not the sort of campaign people expect from Sea Shepherd, has this tactic worked before?
Back in 2011, the West Australian Government, Woodside Petroleum and various joint venture partners (Chevron, Mitsui and Mitsubishi) wanted to put the worlds biggest gas hub right through the middle of the world’s biggest humpback whale nursery. The operation would have destroyed vast areas of sea grass habitat, that sea turtles and dugongs relied on, displaced the humpback whales, destroyed 130 million year old dinosaur foot prints and destroyed Indigenous burial sites and song lines. This would have been catastrophic to the local Goolarabooloo people. Our mission was take the Steve Irwin to Walmadan (James Price Point) just north of Broome in Western Australia, to show that Woodside’s whale survey was wrong and to showcase to the world what we would all lose if the project went ahead. Along with other environment groups and the people of Broome, were successful in our mission in stopping the worlds biggest gas hub proposed by Woodside Petroleum from going through the middle of the worlds biggest humpback whale nursery off the Kimberley coast, and we can and must stop BP in the Bight.

Note: This descriptive text was copied from the Campaign's website. Some website links may no longer be active.

Campaign Details

Campaign Target Type:

Who this Campaign is Targeting: BP

Main Issue of the Campaign:

Campaign Outcome:

Outcome Evidence: Outcome not yet determined

Year Outcome Assessed:

Geographic Range of Activity:


Operation Jeedara