Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the direct-action marine organization, unveiled its newest vessel, the M/V Sharpie, at a press conference, Monday, December 11th at 11:00 am at the 5th Street Marina in Miami, Fla.
The group’s founder, president, and CEO, Captain Paul Watson, greeted media, fans, and local residents who came to the unveiling ceremony on the bow of the ship. Speaking to the crowd, Watson announced that the vessel would be joining its sister ships the M/V Farley Mowat and the M/V John Paul DeJoria in the Sea of Cortez for Operation Milagro IV, a campaign to save the critically endangered vaquita porpoise. All three ships are 110 ft. Island-class patrol boats.
“With this vessel, I believe we will be able to cover the vaquita refuge 100 percent and make a very serious impact,” said Watson, before going on to explain that with only 30 vaquita left remaining in existence, many have said that putting forth the effort to save it is a “lost cause.”
“It’s always been my opinion, that the only causes really worth fighting for are lost causes,” continued Watson. “It’s incredible how many times (Sea Shepherd has) pulled through and lost causes have turned into victories. I’d really like to thank Chris Sharp for making it possible for us to have this vessel and Captain Sandy who will be joining us in the Sea of Cortez with the crew.”
Sharp, the founder of several all-natural biomedical companies, has been a Sea Shepherd donor for years and generously stepped in to sponsor the purchase of the vessel. During the unveiling, he stated that for years, he has been “in awe” of the anti-poaching work that Sea Shepherd does. Turning to Captain Watson, he said: “A lot do a fair bit for humanity but not enough is being done to protect and save our oceans. And for that I thank you and everyone in the organization for all that you’re doing…..I wish you the best on your first voyage.”
Last week it was announced that Captain Sandy Yawn, star of Bravo Media’s series Below Deck Mediterranean, had been brought on to help captain the new ship, guiding the Sharpie on its inaugural mission to the Sea of Cortez. “I feel honored to be a part of this,” she said.
After the speeches, the entire Sharpie crew, along with Captain Watson, Captain Yawn, Sharp and director of ship operations and campaigns Captain Locky McClean, signed the ship’s Jolly Roger flag. Sharp raised the flag and then moved to the dock to unveil the name of the ship at the bow. The name, Sharpie, had been covered up until that moment. Following the reveal of the name, Sharp was handed a bottle of ceremonial champagne, which he smashed on the bow of the now christened M/V Sharpie.