On the 3rd of March 2010 I woke up at 6.30 and had breakfast. Then at 7.30 I quickly had a shower. After that I started cleaning, tying and pulling ropes, doing a little painting, fueling boats and all the things you do if you’re a deckhand on a ship.
Today we are still tailing a Dutch ship (the Johanna Maria). We want to catch her red handed, while it is plundering our oceans and document it. Possibly do a little action as well. So, I carry on with my work on deck while we wait for the big ocean killer to strike again. We want to catch these trawlers with their nets down. A few minutes past ten in the morning one of our colleagues yells “She’s fishing”! So we quickly put our life jackets on, we got into the inflatable boat with the camera crew, Raoul (Greenpeace Africa forest campaigner) Mike (a Deck hand) and myself.
The waves are raging, but we’re Greenpeace. Surely it would take far more than that to stop us! When we got next to the Johanna Maria, to our disappointment they had already pulled their fishing nets into the ships. At least a thousand birds are flying around the ship, eating the little fish that escaped the net and other fish that the fishing ship would throw out because of High Grading. They do this when they want their catch to be a particular size; anything less than that they throw back in the water. Raoul and I hold up a banner with the inscription ‘Africa feeds Europe’ this will show the world where the fish is coming from. We expose this info because Africa does not always benefit from the EU fisheries. The camera crew take photos with the back view of the fishing ship and all the fish eating birds flying around it. We got the shot we wanted and we head back to our mother ship the Arctic Sunrise.
At 5,45pm we see them releasing their nets for the second time so we hurry after them. This time we’re on two inflatable boats and we are carrying a bigger banner. Their nets are still down when we arrive. The boat with the banner goes ahead and the boat with the film crew is right behind it this is done so that the filming crew can get a shot with the banner right next to fishing ship. This time the banner we have says ‘EU license to plunder’. Yvette and I will be holding the banner. It is quite a mission to hold the banner this time around, the wind is very strong and the waves are angry, the boat is far from steady, and we have to get a good shot.
After a while holding the banner (still trying to get the shot we need) our muscles begin to ache with pain, Yvette shouts ‘I can’t take it anymore’ then Johanna who is also on the boat steps in, my left hand muscle is sore - I’m barely holding on to the banner and now a then almost falling off the boat, seawater is splashing on my face almost blinding me and the birds are just everywhere, flying in front of the banner making it difficult for the photographer to get the shot he needs. Then finally after a long 40 minutes or so we hear the magic words “I got the shot”, and not forgetting the heavenly voice that said “it’s a wrap, good job, you guys were brilliant”.
So we head on back to our mother ship the Arctic Sunrise with a great deal of excitement, because today went well. Hopefully we can achieve more tomorrow on our new target. We get on our ship we head to the showers, have dinner and get ready for tomorrow.