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M/V Steve Irwin

Even moored in the unassuming waters of Newcastle Harbour, NSW, the M/V Steve Irwin is still a formidable sight. With its distinctive sea camouflage, emblazoned with the menacing skull of Neptune’s Navy, it doesn’t take much to imagine how it once struck fear into the hearts of marine poachers, whalers, and illegal drift net operations.

The M/V Steve Irwin is the former flagship of the Sea Shepard Conservation Society. Affectionately known as The Steve, it helped save the lives of over 6,000 whales, a number that would’ve made its namesake proud. But after 11 years of patrolling the world’s oceans, the vessel was retired in 2018.

Enter Kerrie Goodall. Goodall had always been passionate about animal conservation and saw the appeal of the ship as an educational space. To fund the restoration of the ship, Goodall established the Ship4Good Foundation to raise money for repairs.

“The Steve was in poor shape and one of the first issues to address was her paint. We needed to stop further corrosion.”

After removing more than 300 kilograms of rust from the ship, the Ship4Good team began the titanic task of painting the ship.  Kerrie and the team chose to use U-Pol’s RAPTOR Industrial coating system. “Raptor is a 2K polyurethane coating that is thick, textured, and tough – ideal for The Steve,” Goodall said.

RAPTOR’s outstanding corrosion resistance and UV stability make it perfect for harsh marine environments. For the deck, Goodall used RAPTOR Traction, a gritty additive that creates a tough anti-slip texture.

It was important to preserve The Steve’s distinctive blue, black, and grey ocean camouflage. For this, the team used tintable Raptor.

After taking everything the ocean and it’s villains could throw at it, Goodall, Ship4Good and RAPTOR were able to bring The Steve back. The ship has been recognised by the Australian Maritime Museum as a historic ship. Goodall plans to relocate the M/V Steve Irwin to the Brisbane River, where it will live on as a permanent exhibition space, teaching the importance of ocean conservation to generations to come.

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