A co-creator of The Simpsons has promised to underwrite the cost of a fourth, potentially game-changing, ship for Sea Shepherd’s Antarctic anti-whaling campaign.
Producer Sam Simon’s name is expected to be painted on the side of a former German icebreaker as Hollywood again comes to the aid of the hardline activists.
Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson said the fourth ship would give the activists a chance to regain the upper hand in the contest with the Japanese whaling fleet.
“I was looking for something fast and strong, and that’s what we’re getting” Mr Watson told Fairfax. “Sam Simon was generous enough to donate the money for it.”
Mr Watson began the search for a fourth ship part way through last summer after the scout ship Brigitte Bardot was damaged.
It became apparent that the whalers’ security vessels had the capacity to constantly tail the group’s remaining ships, Steve Irwin and Bob Barker.
Mr Simon, 57, has an animal welfare foundation, and is a noted poker player. His work on The Simpsons ended in 1993 but he is reported to still receive revenue from the show.
He announced his Sea Shepherd support at a Malibu fund-raiser. “I think this is the year we are going to end whaling once and for all,” Simon said, according to The Malibu Times.
Much of Sea Shepherd’s capital funding has come from Hollywood donations. Mr Watson said he thought his group struck a chord with the entertainment world because it returned rapid results.
“These people want to make a difference and we’re in a position to make things happen,” he said, speaking from Germany, where he is still fighting Costa Rica’s plan to extradite him for trial over alleged navigation offences.
Mr Watson is yet to reveal which ship is being purchased, or its cost, but said it was in good condition to be made ready for the next whaling season.
Meanwhile the agency that runs Japan’s whaling program, the Institute of Cetacean Research, is looking for public donations too.
According to its website, the ICR is seeking “support members” who are being offered a box of whale meat in exchange for a 5000 yen ($61) donation.
“The Kujira Tomo no Kai is intended to foster amity among those who approve the activities of the ICR and wish to contribute to the preservation and continuation of Japan’s whale food culture and tradition through the consumption of whale meat as byproduct of whale research,” it said.
The deeply divided International Whaling Commission is meeting this week in Panama City.
Environment Minister Tony Burke, leaves today for the annual meeting, which will consider indigenous whaling quotas, and a long-standing proposal to create a South Atlantic Whale Sanctuary.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.