On Tuesday, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society unveiled its newest vessel, the M/V John Paul DeJoria, at a marina in Miami. The DeJoria is one of two 110-foot Island-class patrol boats that Sea Shepherd purchased from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2015.
Her namesake, John Paul DeJoria, is a co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems salon products and has worked with Sea Shepherd since 1998. He is a member of the group's advisory board, and he also sponsored the purchase of the DeJoria's sister ship, the Farley Mowat.
“We’re proud today to unveil and to launch the John Paul DeJoria,” said Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd's founder. “I can’t think of a person who I am more proud to have a name on a vessel.” Captain Watson said that the DeJoria's maiden voyage will include anti-poaching work off Malpelo Island, Cocos Island and the Galapagos off Central America.
Watson also mentioned the group’s recent work in combating wildlife trafficking on shore, particularly in the Chinese shark fin trade. “We’re making progress in both stopping poachers and, also on the other end, trying to convince governments that we have to put an end to this,” he said.
Instead of the traditional champagne, a bottle of tequila from DeJoria-owned Patron Spirits was used for the time-honored commemoration. When DeJoria broke it against the anchor, the M/V John Paul DeJoria became the first ship in history to be christened with a bottle of Patron tequila.
DeJoria has also made his own contributions to the protection of marine life. The island of Barbuda has recently implemented a fishing ban out to two nautical miles from shore, and DeJoria has sealed a deal on a $250 million venture that will build a resort, providing local fisherman with alternative work. “There’s about 30 families [on the island] there that depend on fishing, and they average about $10,000 a year,” he said. “We…. are going to [help them with their income] for a full year until a resort is built and they have regular work. This way we find other work for those people.”