Ship honors croc hunter

Sea Shepherd, the controversial conservation group, has renamed one of its vessels in honor of the late Steve Irwin, the animal activist known as the Crocodile Hunter.

Christened recently by Irwin’s widow, Terri, in Melborne, Australia, the ship, formerly called the Robert Hunter, is well on its way to the Antarctic in search of Japanese whaling vessels. At the helm is maverick anti-whaler Paul Watson, a founding member of Greenpeace who no longer has formal ties to the organization.

Watson, Sea Shepherd founder, is determined to stop Japan from killing more than 1,000 whales, including the majestic humpback. During an at-sea row earlier this year, he disabled a Japanese whaling ship by ramming it. His no-holds-barred tactics have been criticized by politicians, yet he’s praised by many for publicizing the plight of the animals.