Crew of the Rainbow Warrior keeping their spirits up. Currently the crew is confined to the ship by port authorities.
To understand why we are currently having so many problems here
in India I'll start my story a few weeks ago. We came here to show
how rich countries are dumping toxic waste in disguise -- in the
form of old ships headed for scrap in Alang, India. We want rich
countries to clean the ships of hazardous waste before they are
sent to countries like India - so making it a safer practice for
the local workers and the environment. However the powerful
shipbreaking industry, backed by the shipowners, has misrepresented
our intentions and influenced local and regional politicians to
start making problems for us. This inspite of the fact that we were
at the same time cooperating with federal Indian authorities in
London at a UN meeting on laws of the sea.
Nov 26: It all looked
fine as we lifted the anchor, set the sails and started our voyage
back to Bombay. There wasn't much wind, but it felt great to move
again. We've been at anchor for about two weeks.
Nov 27: We arrived at the
25 mile zone from Mumbai. We had to wait here until our paperwork
was sorted out. It's a little confusing, this paper-work story. In
the maritime world there are certain rules concerning entering and
clearing ports. Our last port was Bombay. The Alang port
authorities didn't want to clear us to enter, but they took our
paperwork anyway. Now we need our paperwork back from the Alang
authorities as we are not being allowed to enter Mumbai without
Nov 30: A few days passed,
uneventful except for the activity of many local fishermen and a
minor collision caused by another ship's captain being asleep at
the helm. As the days passed things got a bit more serious: the
fresh food and water
ran out. A hot boat and no showers are an unpleasant
Land at last!
Dec 6: I woke up early in the
morning to see the sunrise of my last day at sea. It was strange to
see Mumbai lying at our feet. It felt strange to see land again.
We've been at sea for three and a half weeks and we were excited to
enter the harbour. At the same time we all would miss the beauty
and tranquillity of being on the ocean. When we got closer to shore
a band was playing music and a crowd
of people welcomed us with flowers and banners saying "Welcome
Back". If felt good to see people caring about our work and
ourselves. But although we thought this would be the end of the
waiting, it was really just the beginning.
Late in the night we were given an order saying that we were not
to leave the ship. All non-Indian crew were forbidden to disembark.
We felt trapped and we still do. What a shame the authorities are
making life hard for us and not the environmental criminals we
To make our voice heard we made a banner saying "Greenpeace
Persecuted for Exposing Environmental Crime". The Rainbow Warrior
lies next to a bridge where lots of people are passing by, so the
banner explains who we are and why we're here. It also seems that
we're extremely interesting; whatever we do we have an enormous
audience. It feels strange to be watched all the time. At sea I
felt free even though we were surrounded by nothing but water. Now
we can see people whenever we are on deck, but we cannot go ashore
and actually meet them.
Luckily the people from our Indian office are able to visit us.
They have been arranging everything we need. Besides new supplies,
they have also invited a lot of journalists and friends to come by
and visit us. We talk about the situation we're in and about the
double standards of the Indian Government. I call it a double
standard because while India supported our proposal for global
regulation of the shipbreaking industry at a
recent international meeting they then work against us in their
own country. And we're here exactly for the same goal. We want
global laws that obligate ship owners to make their old ships
toxic-free before they send them for scrap so that the people and
environment of India do not have to pay the price.
We have written
a letter to send to four Ministers in India. They have the
power to change this order and let us disembark. In this letter we
are asking for the authorities to allow us to let some crew off the
ship to go home and the new crew to join. We have all sent e-mails
to our friends and families asking them to send these faxes. Our
offices around the world are helping by sending these faxes and
asking for meetings with the Indian embassies in their
So while we are not allowed to leave the ship, we continue on
with the daily work on board. We have organised for school children
to come to the ship and have tours and talks with the crew. Many
supporters and interested
people are visiting us. So even though we are not able to go
ashore we are still able to help raise awareness here in Mumbai
about the importance of protecting the environment. It has been
inspiring that even though the authorities are preventing us from
going ashore the people of Mumbai have welcomed us and shown that
despite the government's reluctance they support our work towards a
clean and peaceful planet for everyone.