Sea Shepherd Australia’s decommissioned flagship vessel, the Steve Irwin, has been asked to leave Williamstown.
‘The Steve’ was sold to Ship4Good founder Kerrie Goodall and has been berthed at Workshop Pier behind Seaworks since 2012.
Ms Goodall said the Seaworks Foundation had asked her to move The Steve “as soon as possible”.
She said mooring fees had been about $10,000 in arrears.
“I was able to address the Seaworks board for the first time three weeks ago and we discussed in-arrear mooring fees, which they have been kind enough to offer some relief due to the COVID-19 shutdown,” she said.
“In my 20 years of professional life, this was an amazing opportunity to give back, and taking on The Steve was a way I saw that I could benefit Williamstown.
“The establishment of the ship onsite has been done with industry experts and the initial collaboration and approval of Seaworks.”
Seaworks leases the site from the state government via Parks Victoria.
Seaworks executive officer Glenn Jones confirmed on Friday that the Steve Irwin had been asked to leave.
“Whilst we acknowledge the cultural and social value of the vessel, there are a number of significant health and safety, environmental, and contractual and legal issues in play here,” he said.
“Seaworks, along with our landlord Parks Victoria, and the original owners of the vessel, the Sea Shepherd, are all fully aware of the situation.
“We are looking for a resolution to this issue.”
A Parks Victoria spokesperson said the matter was between Seaworks and Ship4Good.
“As committee of management and local port manager, Parks Victoria has leased the Williamstown site to the Seaworks Foundation since 2006,” the spokesperson said.