Sea Shepherd welcomed to Sydney

ACTIVISTS from controversial environmental protection movement Sea Shepherd were given a heroes welcomes in Sydney on the weekend as they prepared to sail to Perth for their latest crusade against a proposed gas factory in Western Australia.

Resource company Woodside, backed by some of the biggest fuel companies in the country, plans to build the factory in an area of the Kimberley Coast regarded as a humpback whale sanctuary.

According to the Australian Wilderness Society, the factory would create a "massive ocean dead zone", threatening the 10,000 humpbacks who migrate up the coast every year.

The organisation also estimates about 34million tonnes of dredge spoil would be dumped back in the ocean which would have a devastating impact on rare dolphins, turtles and dugongs.

Former Greens leader Bob Brown and NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann were among the environmentalists who showed their support for the group as its flagship the MV Steve Irwin docked at Circular Quay on the weekend.

Following speeches from passionate activists on the ship's bow on Sunday morning, hundreds marched across the Harbour Bridge to Kirribilli House where they called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to protect the Kimberley's from the gas project.



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