Launched in February 2002, the Esperanza is one of the largest vessels in the Greenpeace fleet, replacing the now retired Greenpeace. Esperanza (Spanish for "hope") is the first Greenpeace ship to be named by visitors to our web site.
The ship is one of 14 fire-fighting vessels ordered by the Russian government between 1983 and 1987 from the Stocznia Polnocna construction yard in Gdansk, Poland. Heavy ice class and speed were one of the requirements.
It was used by the Russian Navy as a fire-fighting ship in Murmansk. Lack of funds saw the ship laid up for some years in the late 80s, after which it was sold a few times. The ship was working in Norway as a supply vessel when Greenpeace found her.
At 72 metres in length, and with a top speed of 16 knots, the ship is ideal for fast and long-range work.
The ship's ice-class status means it can also work in the polar regions.
It has taken many months to refit the ship in as environmentally friendly a way as possible. These improvements include: the removal or safe containment of all asbestos; fitting a special fuel system to avoid spillage; newly fitted, more efficient, diesel electric propulsion; on-board recycling of waste water, leaving only clean water pumped overboard; a waste-based heating system; bilge water purifiers,15 times more effective than current legislation demands; TBT-free hull paint; ammonia based refrigeration and air-conditioning rather than climate-changing and ozone-depleting Freon gas - the first Dutch registered vessel to be so fitted; and an environmentally and economically efficient propulsion system to reduce CO2 emissions.
In addition, standard Greenpeace operating equipment has also been fitted. A new helicopter deck has been added, as well as special boat cranes to launch the inflatables.
David de Jong, Greenpeace chief engineer:
Finding the perfect Greenpeace ship... it has been on my mind since I joined Greenpeace nine years ago.
Two years ago the specifications were agreed for the replacement of the Greenpeace. It was an extremely difficult task. The Echo Fighter [the ship’s original name] had the potential we were looking for, even if we were looking at a major refit.
Full of thoughts, excitement and questions I walked off the gangway after my first visit to the Echo Fighter in Norway, when a rainbow appeared.
Rainbows are said to have appeared at crucial moments in Greenpeace history, guiding our ships to whaling vessels and nuclear test sites.
Perhaps in this case, the rainbow guided us to the Esperanza – I certainly like to think of both as signs of hope for things to come.
Port of registry: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Former Name: Echo Fighter
Date of charter: 2000
Number of berths: 33
Inflatable boats: 2 large rigid hull and 4 small inflatables
Helicopter capable: Yes
Type of ship: expedition/research
Call sign: PD 6464
Built: 1984 Poland Gdansk
Gross tonnage: 2076 BRT
Length o.a: 72.3m
Maximum speed: 14 knots
Main engines: 5.876 BHP, 2*2.938 BHP Sulzer V12