Posted: 18th June 2018 | Written by: Sam Wheaton
We first became aware of the work Sea Shepherd was involved in during the documentary series ‘Whale Wars’ which aired in the mid 2000’s. The series followed the mission of a number of Sea Shepherd vessels attempting to prevent the killing of whales by Japanese vessels off the coast of Antarctica. It was fascinating to watch and triggered a desire to know more about international activities in our oceans.
Fast forward 15 years and after a career working on the water we’ve been lucky to experience some unique marine experiences around the world.
As a business, Seahub’s foundations come from a background of enjoying a close relationship with the marine environment. Seahub’s head office is located in Newcastle, Australia, a small coastal city with strong ties to surfing, beaches and long summers in and out of the ocean.
Early in 2018, Seahub Co-founder, Matt Hyde and I met with Sea Shepherd Global’s Chief Engineer, Brian Race, who oversees maintenance programs across their fleet. This includes the Steve Irwin (59.5m), Bob Barker (52m), Ocean Warrior (54m) and the Sam Simon (56m). I remember our first conversation vividly. Brian was discussing campaigns the fleet are currently involved in and spoke of an operation off the coast of Liberia to prevent illegal fishing – Operation Sola Stella. I couldn’t get enough of it and hung onto every detail.
Sea Shepherd Global was in need of a system to support a global fleet, often operating in remote and isolated corners of the world. Meanwhile for Seahub it was a partnership that makes sense as we both share a passion for marine conservation and protection from the over exploitation of marine resources. We’re therefore very proud to report that following our meetings, Seahub was chosen as the platform best suited and most capable of providing the functionality that Sea Shepherd needs to maintain their fleet and ensure the safety of their crew onboard.
As Technical Director at Seahub, Matt plays a big part in every deployment we do. He visited the Steve Irwin at the Seaworks Maritime Precinct in Melbourne. The plan was to spend a couple of days onsite to understand the processes currently used to manage the maintenance requirements for the fleet and how Seahub could integrate and improve this for Brian. The guys soon identified a number of areas where improvements could be made using a new system.
Then it was time for a tour. Matt noticed the robustness of the equipment onboard and a huge sense of pride among the engineering department. The world they operate in requires a great deal of ingenuity and resourcefulness, traits all good seafarers need whatever the purpose of their ship.
Matt Hyde onboard MY Steve Irwin in Melbourne
I received a text message from Matt late on the first day. I could sense the excitement when he said, “You should see the size of these water cannons!” He came back with a real buzz from the trip; learning more about Sea Shepherd Global, meeting the amazing crew and getting to know the Steve Irwin was an experience he wouldn’t forget in a hurry.
Sea Shepherd is predominately made up of volunteers from a range of backgrounds including trades, ex-military, firefighters, yacht crew and everything in between. What unites them is a shared belief in the importance of the work they do.
Sea Shepherd Global’s CEO, Captain Alex Cornelissen, originally joined Sea Shepherd as part of a sabbatical, volunteering as a Chief Cook. Over the next 14 years he moved through the ranks to Chief Officer and Captain to President of the Board of Directors for Sea Shepherd Germany, Luxemburg, Netherlands and Switzerland, serving as a board member in the majority of other countries.
When working with software providers people typically don’t expect much engagement. But we saw working with Sea Shepherd more as a partnership and an opportunity to allow the flow of ideas between both organisations. This is how we work when we deploy Seahub on any vessel. Understanding how people use and interact with our software gives us the information we need to develop and adapt it in line with what people actually need. Feedback is invaluable.
Matt Hyde and Brian Race exploring the engine room of the MY Steve Irwin in Melbourne
Sea Shepherd Global has some very talented seafarers with access to some incredible technologies, so this partnership effectively takes our R&D team from five to over 50, simply by creating an environment where feedback is welcome and acted upon.
By the nature of its work, Sea Shepherd’s vessels operate in challenging conditions often with limited access to resources, so they need reliable support and a network they can depend on. Working with Sea Shepherd has allowed us to understand the extreme end of the spectrum in terms of engineering challenges but it will also help us to develop and improve the support we provide to our superyacht clients.
On a personal level, working with Sea Shepherd Global has been a hugely rewarding project for us. Our Project Manager, Andy, proudly wears his Sea Shepherd shirt at any opportunity! We enjoy sharing the experience with peers and colleagues at the yacht shows and hopefully it will inspire other companies to get involved. Equally, if any yacht crew are looking to give back to the big blue in some way, don’t hesitate to reach out to Sea Shepherd Global to find out how you can support an awesome cause.
Captain Paul Watson, Founder of Sea Shepherd
Captain Paul Watson, Founder of Sea Shepherd - Part 11
Sea Shepherd - Cool Ships & Conservation
Sea Shepherd's Operation Nemesis
Captain Adam Meyerson - Sea Shepherd's MY Ocean Warrior
Captain Wyanda Lublink - Sea Shepherd's MY Steve Irwin
Rob Reed - Sea Shepherd UK
Gary Stokes - Sea Shepherd Asia