Greenpeace flagship Esperanza docks at Port Blair, building support for India’s marine biodiversity over a month-long tour

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Press release - February 10, 2012
Port Blair, India, February 10th, 2012: MY Esperanza, the iconic campaigning ship of Greenpeace, docked at Port Blair today. On her second visit to India, the Esperanza through a month long tour will highlight the impacts of illegal and destructive fishing practices in the Indian EEZ and build public support for effective management measures to protect India’s staggering marine biodiversity. The tour of the Esperanza starts at Port Blair and will conclude at Chennai in early March, 2012. On its arrival at Chennai, the vessel and campaign will publicly share the findings emerging from the research undertaken taken at sea.

The fastest in the Greenpeace fleet of vessels, the ship has been re-designed in an as environmentally-friendly way as possible (1). Reflective of Greenpeace's global presence and multi-cultural standing, the Esperanza sails into India with a crew of 17, from over 10 nationalities, including Indians.

The arrival of the ship coincides with Greenpeace India's recently launched campaign to stop illegal and industrial fishing in India's EEZ (2). Commenting on the campaign and the role of the ship, Areeba Hamid, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace India said "India's seas are being exploited by illegal and destructive industrial fishing practices. Fish stocks are depleting, livelihood securities of hundreds of thousands of coastal communities are at threat and marine ecosystems are systematically being degraded. The Esperanza will be central to our campaign, bringing the realities of threats out at sea back to the shores."

2012 is a key year for the Oceans as countries have set themselves a deadline to establish a global network of marine protected areas, especially in the high seas. The 20th anniversary of the Rio Summit in June 2012 at Brazil, followed by the Eleventh Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in October 2012 at Hyderabad will have a strong emphasis on Ocean conservation.

"As host nation to the CBD COP and a key player on global governance of the high seas, India has the opportunity and responsibility to ensure that these multi-lateral forums deliver the change required. While the seas and Oceans might seem infinite, they are fast approaching their limits of endurance. The need is for action, and the time for it is now" concluded Hamid.

For further information, visit www.greenpeace.org/india or contact:

At Port Blair

Shuchita Mehta, Media Officer, Greenpeace India, , +91- 9560990606

Sanjiv Gopal, Campaign Manager – Climate, Oceans & Energy, Greenpeace India, , +91-98455 35416

Onboard Esperanza

Areeba Hamid, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace India, , +919900569456

Annemarie Van Hees, Communications Manager, Greenpeace International, , +4723677987

Notes to the editor

(1) The environmental re-design includes the removal or safe containment of all asbestos; 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 amongst others. Refer to http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/about/Ships/Esperanza/

Refer to http://www.greenpeace.in/take-action/save-our-oceans/esperanza-in-india.php?p3=os

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