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One of the world’s most environmentally friendly ships, Greenpeace International’s Rainbow Warrior III, docked in Durban yesterday. It will be in port for two weeks before embarking on an Indian Ocean tour to draw attention to and fight over fishing in the region.
Michael Baillie of Greenpeace Africa has been aboard the Warrior since it left Cape Town earlier this month.
“This tour is about research, documentation and consultation with stakeholders,” he said. “We want to know exactly how overfished and depleted the region is and who is to blame.”
While the ship is in Durban it will undergo scheduled maintenance after which the public will be allowed on board during an open day.
The Rainbow Warrior III has two predecessors. The original Rainbow Warrior was part of the effort that put an end to nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean and shut down destructive fishing operations. It was bombed in 1985.
The Rainbow Warrior II enjoyed 22 years as a Greenpeace vessel and was retired last year.
The current vessel is the first of Greenpeace International’s fleet to be especially built and designed to serve the organisation’s needs and boasts an impressive array of eco-friendly features.
The hull is shaped for improved energy efficiency while the mast allows for wind-powered sailing, weather permitting. It is the first of its kind to be installed on such a large vessel.
The ship incorporates electric drive engines which are only used when the weather is bad. They were designed and built with sustainability in mind.
Used, dirty water can be stored on board so there is no need to dispose of it at sea. A special filtration system also cleans this water for re-use.
A central filling and venting system for fuel and oil pre-vents spills. Toxic exhaust emissions are minimal. Even the ship’s paint is environmentally friendly.
Baillie said the trip along the southern Africa coastline had been “really special” with numerous whale sightings.
“Once humpback whales swam within a metre of the ship for over an hour. Some crew members have been sailing for 30 years and have never seen anything like it,” he said.