It’s Wednesday night, March 10, on board the Arctic Sunrise and I’m a dinkum rainbow warrior now.
Today was my first day on an inflatable. It was awesome. I had butterflies in my stomach before we launched because I didn’t have a clue what to expect.
We hit the water like we were surfing, hit a couple of waves and then I got used to it as the adrenaline started pumping through my veins with a vengeance.
We set course for the nearest Spanish ship in the trawler fleet.
They stopped fishing the moment they saw us, trying to head away for us. As we got closer they started cursing us.
Before we launched the dinghies the instructions had been to head for the second ship if the first one wasn’t trawling.
There was a crew of 10 on board the second trawler, including their skipper.
When we drew closer, we found we’d caught them with their nets down.
They’d been alerted by the radio operator on the first trawler and started pulling up their nets as fast as they could, but not before we moved to action stations.
Holding up our banner “EU LICENCE TO PLUNDER” and filming them on video and shooting pictures on camera for at least half an hour.
The captain leant overboard and screamed abuse at us. I don’t have to tell you what he was saying, his vocabulary wasn’t good – in any language – but the F-word seems to cross all barriers and he was using it as a noun, adjective and adverb all in one.
And just to drive the message home, we changed banners, this time it read: AFRICA FEEDS EUROPE.
Having made our point we headed back to the mother ship. My arms were tired, I was tired, but I felt great.
These were Spanish trawlers, from Las Palmas, but sailing under a Mauritanian flag, blithely plundering our resources. And they do it because they know they can, because there’s no one there to police the waters of West Africa – until today, until we got on the scene.
If I never understood my cause before, this evening I know, better than ever, that I have to protect the sea and the creatures within, not just for me, but for my children and the children of the world.
Our cause is just; we have to face up to these modern day eco-pirates. Today we did just that.