Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s newest vessel, the M/V Sharpie, has become the first ship in history to obtain registry as a private marine conservation yacht by Dominica Maritime Registry.
Sea Shepherd founder, president, and CEO Captain Paul Watson and director of ship operations and campaigns, Captain Locky MacLean, along with Dominica Senator for Tourism and Urban Renewal, the Honourable Robert Tonge, and Discover Dominica Authority’s Production Promotions Manager Kathy Cuffy Jno-Jules, were present at the dedication ceremony aboard the Sharpie at the 5th Street Marina in Miami on Tuesday, December 12, 2017.
Tonge officially raised the Sharpie’s Dominica flag, bearing the image of the island’s national bird, the Imperial Amazon parrot. Found only on the island of Dominica, the parrot, also known as the sisserou, symbolizes biodiversity, resilience and environmental awareness.
While many ships are routinely designated as private yachts, commercial yachts and other similar titles, Dominica’s certificate of registry lists the Sharpie as a private marine conservation yacht, reflecting the anti-poaching organization’s unique work in defending, conserving and protecting the world’s oceans.
“It was a great honour indeed to have Dominica Senator, the Honourable Robert Tonge, raise the Dominica flag on the first ever registered private conservation research yacht, the Sharpie,” said Watson.
The dedication ceremony came one day after the M/V Sharpie was officially unveiled and christened in Miami, making it the 11th member of Sea Shepherd’s fleet. Registering the vessel to Dominica was a natural decision for Sea Shepherd as the group formed a close relationship with the island this fall during the organization’s recent Hurricane Irma and Maria relief campaign, Operation Good Pirates of the Caribbean. Sharpie’s sister ship, the M/V John Paul DeJoria led the Good Piratesoperation, which also included the islands of Antigua, British Virgin Islands, Curacao, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Maarten, St. Barts and St. Croix.
“I want to thank everyone at Sea Shepherd for all that you’ve done for Dominica, especially after Hurricane Maria….bringing food and water and generators and tarpaulins that our people truly required at an important time,” said Tonge. “We truly appreciate that. We are excited that you are launching this ship that’s registered with the Dominica flag to Portsmouth. Wishing you the best in your endeavors and hopefully you can continue spreading joy to the rest of the world.”
“Sea Shepherd would like to thank Minister Tonge and our friends in Dominica as well as the Dominica registry, for supporting our marine conservation efforts and granting us the privilege to fly her national flag,” added MacLean.