Greenpeace ship Esperanza arrives in Cebu at start of Coastal Protection Month

Feature story - September 1, 2006
The Greenpeace ship MY Esperanza arrives today in Cebu City on the last stop of the Philippine leg of her global Defending our Oceans expedition. The voyage aims to highlight the wonders of, and the environmental threats to, the world's oceans. It will also campaign for the establishment of a global network of marine reserves. The Esperanza’s visit to Cebu coincides with the city’s Coastal Protection Month which precedes the very first National Marine Protected Area Summit in the country.

Welcome in Cebu city for Greenpeace ship Esperanza and her crew from local children.

Welcome in Cebu city for Greenpeace ship Esperanza and her crew from local children.

In her tour of the Philippines, the Esperanza has been witness to both the desperation of marine ecosystems and coastal communities, and the viable future that these face once long-term solutions are implemented and enforced. She has been witness to the various threats to the oceans, particularly pollution.

The Esperanza drew attention to the alarming pollution in Manila Bay and found out plastics and various industrial chemicals and domestic sewage are suffocating the bay’s once productive waters. The Esperanza’s early response in assisting the Philippine Coast Guard and other organizations in the Petron Solar 1 oil-slick disaster which has devastated Guimaras Island and other parts of Central Visayas has been crucial in helping focus the world’s attention to the massive environmental catastrophe. The ship has also actively taken part in community protests in Rapu Rapu Island in Albay where toxic mine pollution from Lafayette’s mining operations is destroying marine ecosystems, endangering vulnerable and important species, and ruining the livelihoods of poor coastal communities.

Now, in Cebu, Greenpeace is supporting Coastal Conservation and Educational Foundation (CCEF) in their call for the establishment of more marine reserves. The Esperanza arrives in the city from world-renowned, community-managed Apo Island Marine Reserve in Negros Oriental. Many new and emerging marine reserves in Cebu and the rest of the country follow the blueprint of the Apo Island experience. 

The Esperanza will leave the Philippines from Cebu on September 3 carrying with her a message of hope for the oceans. Experiences in Apo Island Marine Reserve and in Cebu show the world that the oceans will have a chance to recover once strong measures of protection are instituted.

The wealth of local experiences with regard to the benefits of ocean protection will serve as examples of how similar reserves in international waters in the high seas are the key solution to the global oceans crises and this is what Greenpeace wants to highlight in the Esperanza’s year-long Defending our Oceans tour.

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