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Steve Irwin vessel in has hub protest
Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Sea Shepherd’s flagship vessel Steve Irwin is heading to Broome to campaign against the $35 million Browse gas hub at James Price Point.

The conservation organisation said direct action was planned to save a whale nursery off the Kimberley coast following yesterday’s conditional approval for the $40 million Browse LNG project.

Sea Shepherd Australian director Jeff Hansen said the new Kimberley whale campaign would bring worldwide attention to the value of the humpback nursery and the threat to whales from the development.

“If the Australian federal government Ministers cannot protect the whales in the Australian Antarctic Whale Sanctuary, then the very least they can do is protect them right off our coast where they are born,” Mr Hansen said.

The Steve Irwin will leave Melbourne for Broome on Friday to highlight the plight of the whales. It is expected to arrive in Broome on August 4.

The new campaign will be led by Sea Shepherd board member and former head of the Australian Greens, Bob Brown who will take political and business leaders out to sea to watch the last whale calving before a final decision is made on the project.

Dr Brown said yesterday that once anyone had witnessed the beauty and wonder of a whale calving they would understand what was at stake.

“The gas factory does not have to happen at James Price Point, the whale calving does,” Dr Brown said. “We are hoping this can be a win, win situation with the gas factory going somewhere else.

“This area is one of the biggest, if not the biggest and most important humpback nursery in the world,” he said.

Sea Shepherd said it was invited to join the campaign against the development by local Aboriginal elders.