Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Appoints New CEO

Captain Alex Cornelissen
Captain Alex Cornelissen

Published Apr 7, 2020 9:30 PM by The Maritime Executive

Captain Alex Cornelissen has taken on the role of CEO for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. 

Cornelissen is also the CEO of Sea Shepherd Global. 

He has participated in more than 25 Sea Shepherd campaigns, including five trips to the Antarctic to stop the Japanese whalers. He first joined Sea Shepherd in 2002 as Chief Cook on the Farley Mowat, the organization’s flagship vessel at that time. 

What was supposed to be a sabbatical turned into a life-changing experience. On his first day on board the Farley Mowat, he dove into the waters of the Galapagos Marine Reserve to save a turtle from a longline. In 2003, he saved 15 dolphins from the nets in Taiji, Japan, and in 2005 and 2008, he rescued seals in Canada. Other moments of great inspiration to him include freeing wildlife from longlines and seeing Japan lose the court case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Over the past 18 years, he served as a crew member on multiple ships in Sea Shepherd’s fleet and worked his way up to the bridge to become the First Officer under Captain Paul Watson. In 2006, he was appointed Captain.

He worked continuously on board the ships until the end of 2007 when he took on the role of Director of Operations in the Galapagos Islands. He remained in this position for seven years and ran an effective campaign to stop poaching in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. 

In January 2014, Cornelissen became the CEO of Sea Shepherd Global and is responsible for all the movements of the vessels in Sea Shepherd’s fleet. Cornelissen is the president of the board of directors for Sea Shepherd Germany, Luxemburg, Netherlands and Switzerland, and serves as a board member in many other countries.

His mission is to ensure that Sea Shepherd and its fleet continue to grow, enhancing the organization’s ability to protect marine life worldwide. Cornelissen also gives presentations around the world. Although his focus has shifted from the ships to the general management of the Sea Shepherd movement, he still participates in campaigns when time allows it.