Rainbow Warrior Visit
The Cala Millor, with members of the different organizations that support the Alianza Mar Blava and the Eivissa Diu No! movement, including Jaume Estarellas in representation of the Consell Insular, left the port at 1pm to meet Greenpeace at sea and accompany them to our port. Hanging from the Rainbow Warrior’s sails was a huge banner that read No Oil.
The Rainbow Warrior is a beautiful sailboat, 58 metres long with five sails held by 54 metre masts, which was built specially for Greenpeace and its specific needs. Built of recycled materials, the boat has an electrical/diesel hybrid engine complemented with solar panels. They had an open doors day Thursday and I had the chance to have a good look around this marvellous piece of machinery and get explanations from its crew (all from different parts of the world working together to save it). It can hold up to thirty two people, but usually sails with twenty – this turned into a joke when we got to the life boats, which can hold up to twenty people each and they have four, so they will not become a second Titanic. The boat’s crew is titled, most starting as volunteers on the boat (they only take two un-titled volunteers with them on every trip) and then wanting to stay so much that they study for it, as we were told by Caterina, the Italian sailor in charge of the Bridge of the boat. She gave us explanations about how the engines and other important parts of the boats were all monitored from the different screens, how the boat works on two navigation charts – a paper one and an electronic one – and sometimes they are even asked to mark their position according to the stars. One of the things that I found most interesting was the heliport on the boat and the little garage-like-room they have to keep the helicopter in (shame it wasn’t there).
During the tour we were told about the first two Rainbow Warriors. The first one was an old fishing boat Greenpeace bought in 1978 which was sunk in Mururoa by the French government. The organization tried to re-float this boat, but the only thing they could save was the bell. The French had to pay Greenpeace an indemnification, which paid for Rainbow Warrior II. This second boat, after twenty two years of battling, said goodbye to Greenpeace in 2011 and was given to Friendship (a similar, less know, organization) who have renamed it Rongdhonu. Rainbow Warrior III started being built in 2009 especially for Greenpeace’s needs, and set sail for the first time in 2011.
The group also got a lengthy explanation about the repercussions of the oil explorations Cain Energy want to do: Fist of all, they would use Sonic Bombs, which will deafen and kill many marine animals and plants, to find where probable bags of oil or gas are stored. After that, they drill a 90cm hole in the bottom of the sea and leave it open to see if something comes out of it (already contaminating the sea, just in case). If all this shows them they can make some money out of the quantity they estimate can be extracted, a platform is built for “proper” extraction of the product. The estimates made until now show that the probable amount of petrol that could be extracted would not cover Spain’s necessities for six months!
The visit ended with a short video of the latest actions Greenpeace has been doing around the world.
Greenpeace’s anti oil campaign isn’t only centred in our little part of the world but is also trying to save the Canary Islands and the Artic circle. To sign in favour of the campaigns is free and every little helps, you can give your support going in to the Greenpeace website below.
Though I must say I thought it was very nice for Greenpeace not to be asked to pay anything for docking in the port of Ibiza (Valencia made them pay around 1000€), whoever organized the docking must have been feeling ironic, the Gumball 3000 cars, some of the least eco-friendly cars in the world, were parked right in front of the Rainbow Warrior.
While the boat was in our port, Greenpeace campaigned in our waters, literally. Using underwater divers, Greenpeace made a video around the Posidonia underwater prairies close to Ses Salines. For those of you who have never heard of this plant, it is over 100.000 years old, cleans our sea and is the reason the waters surrounding Ibiza and Formentera are so clear, this is the only place in the world it exists and which it one of the major reasons for Ibiza to named World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. Greenpeace wants to raise awareness around the world about the existence and importance of the Posidonia deploying protest banners along the grass meadow and displaying the video on-line
If we don’t stop Cairn Energy from perforating and destroying our sea beds, we will lose this unique plant amongst many other things. Eivissa Diu No!