Pacific engineer lets off steam!

by Jessica Miller

May 26, 2008


My name is Fred Langley Jnr. and I am from the Solomon Islands. My grand parents originated from Kiribati, China, Australia and the Solomon Islands itself and I am married with one kid. My profession is marine engineering but I am also working as a lecturer at the school of marine and fisheries studies in Honiara (capital of the Solomon Islands). I have come to know about Greenpeace through some friends of mine (Geoff and Philip) who are working for Greenpeace in Honiara.

I just completed my studies in 2004 when Greenpeace was looking for a volunteer deckhand and I decided to sign on for a three month period. So I got on board the Rainbow Warrior II in Fiji. It was also an ocean campaign and we spent roughly 18 days in the Pacific Ocean monitoring fishing vessels. We also visited a few countries in the pacific like Kiribati and Federated Stated of Micronesia. Finally we end up in Honiara where the Ocean campaign stop and Forest tree campaign started. I signed off in Indonesian a few weeks later.

When I returned home I got a job at the Marine School for more than three years before I joined the Esperanza in Honiara recently.

This trip is quite different from my first experience. I’ve made more new friends and have been learning more about doing actions and campaigning in addition to gaining a better understanding on the aims and goals of Greenpeace as a whole. More over I am part of the engineering team on board which has given me a wonderful opportunity to increase my experience and knowledge regarding an engineering career.

To my own opinion about all that I see and what has happened so far during this ocean campaign – I sometime feel like tears nearly drop from my eyes to see all this effort, time and money spent to save the Pacific from overfishing and illegal fishing activities. Pacific is my home and fish like tuna and others are my resources and are important for my future and future generations to come.

Just being on this ship itself is a once in a lifetime experience and the work we do is incredible. I feel I owe Greenpeace and my fellow campaigners a lot of gratitude as they have put their lives on the line to protect our ocean, and as a Pacific Islander I do give one hundred percent support to the closure of the international water and declaring them marine reserves.

As Assistant Engineer I get to help the engineers in various duties involved with the ship’s welfare, maintenance of machinery, watch-keeping duties and other trouble shooting work & maintenance to ensure everything is smooth running. Although I have trained and studied engineering, I must admit that there is lots to learn regarding the role I do. Initially it was a struggle, but the engineers I work with are so helpful and the working environment is so nice compared to previous commercial container ships I did apprentice work with. What really touched me initially is the friendliness and generosity of the people I work with and it’s just so easy to communicate as there are no barriers. On board, we have what we call an "open door policy" – everyone is treated equally and with the same respect and this is a very rare thing in any organisation.

There are times when I do feel a bit homesick, particularly as I do miss my wife and son who mean everything to me but what I do today as a volunteer greatly impacts our lives (Pacific Islanders) as we are fighting to defend our ocean. I know that my son and wife back at home are very proud of what I am doing for our people and I hope to instill that selflessness quality into them as well as to others.

Each night before I go back to bed I gaze up at the beautiful sky and admire the stars and breathe in that fresh Pacific breeze. Each time I see a falling star I make a wish that every person on this earth would wake up and start appreciating themselves as well as their environment, and that all form of violence towards each other would end.

Image: © Greenpeace/ Paul Hilton

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