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Bond star launches whale research ship

Cork 96FM (CorkCam)

6th June 2004

James Bond star Pierce Brosnan was in London today launching a "unique" 1.5 million ship to research endangered whales.

The actor and environmentalist, together with wife Keely Shaye-Brosnan, was set to launch the ship, the Song of the Whale, in St Katharine Docks this morning.

The 007 star is the honorary spokesman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW) global whale campaign, which has designed and built the 21-metre sailing ship to undertake research and education on endangered whales.

Fred O`Regan, president and chief executive officer of IFAW, who will also attend the launch, said the Hollywood star’s support was "vitally important" for the organisation’s work.

He said: "Pierce and Keely have each tirelessly given their time and talents to protect whales, the oceans and our global environment.

"Pierce has served as an IFAW whale campaign spokesperson for the past several years, and he served as chairman of the capital fundraising campaign that made the new Song of the Whale research vessel possible.

"His contribution is vitally important in the fight to protect whales around the world."

He added: "Song of the Whale is a unique vessel with a unique mission.

"She will dramatically increase IFAW’s ability to protect whales through state-of-the-art research, education and public awareness activities.

"We are thrilled Pierce and Keely could be with us to launch this new flagship in the fight to protect marine mammals from extinction."

The IFAW says Song of the Whale will become their flagship, advancing the welfare and conservation of marine animals around the world.

She will replace the organisation’s older and smaller research boat, which has travelled more than 250,000 miles around the world over the past 17 years, developing ways to study whales and other marine mammals without disturbing or harming them.

Her maiden voyage will be to Ireland, where the IFAW is campaigning against a recent resumption of whaling and to promote responsible whale watching.

Whales have been a major focus for the work of the organisation, but it also campaigns to protect porpoises, seals, elephants, domestic pets and other animals in crisis.