An interview with Robert Horak, Second Mate from the Czech Republic on board the Rainbow Warrior

Robert has been entertaining several hundreds of people who have come to visit the Rainbow Warrior in Keelung City, northeast Taiwan. This is his first experience in a Greenpeace open boat event.

Q:  This is your first time to host an open boat. Is it difficult?

ROBERT:  First of all, our volunteer translator (English-Chinese) is very good so no problem with that. I enjoy it and find it easy, telling the story of Greenpeace. I prepared for this and learned how to do it from other colleagues.

Q:  What are people generally interested in?

ROBERT: People actually want to know about our life on the ships. They ask about our schedule or what we do daily, our life onboard, where the crew came from. They're also interested in equipment we use on the ship. Probably most of our visitors have never been on a ship before.

Q:  Are there any outstanding questions that people have asked you?

ROBERT:  Well this little child asked where the steering wheel of the ship is.  I think not many people realise that we use a small navigational joy stick to steer the ship. Outside there's an old navigational wheel that we don't use anymore. So it was funny for them to see that we use such small equipment to run the ship.

This is what Robert has to say about himself:

At the age of 17, I moved to Spain where I started my nautical career as deckhand on private yachts. After obtaining my first experience at sea as a deckhand, I became a commercial and salvage diver. Then I joined the Polytechnical University of Catalonia in Barcelona, completing my nautical studies to become a deck officer.

After finishing my studies at nautical school, I started working on cargo ships as a deck cadet, necessary to become a deck officer. As a deck officer I have served in almost all kinds of cargo vessels, including container, bulk and oil carriers.

I joined Greenpeace in November 2010, because I wanted to be a part of the oceans campaign, bring all my sea going and navigational experience to the Greenpeace fleet and give a hand to protect and save our environment that seems to be in danger.

Robert is on board the Rainbow Warrior in Taiwan. The crew are on working in East Asia as part of a campaign to defend the Pacific (click here for more blogs from the ship).

If you would like to work on board a Greenpeace ship - you can fill out an application form here.

All images © Greenpeace/ Paul Hilton