At 5.00 am, most of us were in dreamland. The big factory trawler passes the Arctic Sunrise. This trawler is about 120m long and has the capacity to process 200 tonnes of fish per day. Her equipment is highly sophisticated. She has a system that detects the different types of fish and their location in the ocean. She has the capacity to catch, clean, freeze and store the fish. When the freezer is full they request another vessel to come and collect the fish which is ready for the European market. We have been searching for her since leaving Dakar. Finally we have her in sight…
The Team leader Mike made contact with the EU vessel around 9am! He introduced Greenpeace and told the crew that we were looking for illegal fishing vessels. They responded by stating that there were Mauritanian and Senegalese canoes that are overfishing and are using bad fishing practices as their nets do not have lights. They said they did not mind our campaigners coming on board but he needed to seek permission from their superiors in the Netherlands for authorization regards allowing us to film and take photographs.
By lunch time they had responded on the Radio that his boss in the Netherlands had said no. No one from Greenpeace was allowed on the ship so all plans to film their activities on board their vessel went up in smoke. The campaigners put plan B into motion, this was to request someone in the Greenpeace Dutch Office to find a contact with the shipping vessel who would bypass the immediate boss of the Captain and command them to allow us on board. This did not yield any favorable response either.
At 3pm the inflatable was launched with two campaigners, a videographer and a photographer on board. They managed to take pictures around the ship for at least 2 hours. They continued to try to persuade them to allow us on board, but all their appeals fell on deaf ears. It was a definite No - No to Greenpeace. The Dutch campaigner remarked that the vessel it is flying an Irish Flag, this how the big ships mask their true identity. If all their activities are above board why were they not flying the Dutch flag??
As evening draws near we think of tomorrow, when we shall do some exciting stuff around the Dutch vessel with our inflatables.