Port of Miami Refuses Greenpeace Dock Space

Feature story - November 1, 2003
The Esperanza left anchorage in Miami and is now on her way to dry dock in Greece. The Coast Guard sent a cutter out to made sure we were going in the right direction... Find out about our time in Miami.

The Esperanza left anchorage at 1 p.m. on November 1st and is now on her way to dry dock in Greece. The USCG sent a cutter out to made sure we were going in the right direction…

She arrived in San Francisco on July 15th (her first time in the U.S.) to embark on the Endangered Forests, Endangered Freedoms tour of Alaska. On July 18th , federal prosecutors filed their questionable criminal indictment against Greenpeace based on the April 2002 incident in which two Greenpeace activists boarded a ship carrying illegal mahogany.

After the Alaska tour, the implications of the charges for the whole organization were becoming clear. We made the decision on October 7th to send her to Miami. After the last couple of weeks here, it's obvious that we did the right thing bringing the ship to Miami.

The circus that surrounded the ship when the Port of Miami refused to provide dock space outraged sensible people and brought sustained press attention. It shined a spotlight on our forest campaign and the indictment.

Added to this was the exclusion zone that the U.S. Coast Guard put around the cargo ship Tourcoing two days after we arrived. The ship happened to be carrying timber, and federal authorities searched it, presumably for illegal mahogany. You have to wonder: Would the Coast Guard have been interested in what type of wood she was carrying if we weren't around? Much time also was spent clarifying the Coast Guard's position on the terms under which we could ferry staff, supporters, and eager reporters to the Esperanza, which sat at anchor two miles off Miami Beach.

On November 1st, we gathered on the beach opposite the Esperanza with supporters and passers by to wave her off as she headed out to sea.

Disappointed that you couldn't come aboard in Miami?

Take a virtual tour of the Esperanza.