Friday, April 14, 2006


Sarah, onboard the Esperanza (see article below) reports on the Crew and Activist blog site, "I have just come back from a wander down to the Binar 4 to visit the activists, who are still up on the crane and masts. The crew of the Binar 4 have now put up their own banner to rival ours which says 'Greenpeace is Violent' in Spanish. The team onboard managed to get our banners back in place and are still happy."

"But what really touched me was the three Guineans who had come down to the Esperanza to say "thank you" to us for what we are doing. They said that from Madrid to Barcelona and beyond all their mates are on the phone asking whether they 'saw the Greenpeace stuff on TV?', and saying how great they think it is. They said that Guinea is a poor country, their fish is being stolen and that they were really happy to see us here. If we do manage to have open boats here in Las Palmas they said they wanted to come down."

"That certainly makes all the late nights and stressful moments well worth it."

The following piece is from Greenpeace International Ocean Defenders web site.

Pirate ship boarded and branded

LasPalmas, Spain — Activists from the Esperanza have climbed on board an illegal cargo vessel full of fish stolen from Guinean waters. Greenpeace and the Environmental Justice Foundation tailed the "Binar 4" for six days, as it sailed from West Africa to dump its pirate catch on the European market.

The team of activists will "police" the vessel in the port of Las Palmas until Spanish authorities move to confiscate its illegal cargo. As the "Binar 4" waited to enter port it was branded with the words "Stolen Fish" - painted five times across both sides of its hull.

On April 6th, during an investigation into pirate fishing in West Africa - in which more than 100 vessels were documented - the crew of the Esperanza spotted the "Binar 4" illegally transshipping (transferring fish from multiple trawlers onto the cargo ship) fish from Guinean waters. The Esperanza trailed the pirate ship to the Spanish port of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands where the fish were to be laundered into the European market

"The Guinean authorities have confirmed this ship broke the law. We will ensure that no further laws are broken before the authorities in Las Palmas confiscate the stolen fish on board", said Sarah Duthie, Greenpeace oceans campaigner.

More than 11,000 boxes of fish are on the Binar 4, taken from one of the poorest regions in the world. West Africa is the only place on the planet where fish consumption is actually falling. So far, the authorities in Las Palmas have refused to authorize the offloading of the illegal catch.

"We are encouraged to see that Spain and Guinea have taken action against this vessel and we hope that this is the beginning of a more effective cooperation to improve control of pirate fishing vessels attempting to enter Las Palmas", said Helene Bours of the Environmental Justice Foundation.

Illustrating part of the web of legal and illegal fishing activities we observed in West Africa - click here for more info on why the"Binar 4" is illegal.

Part of the Defending Our Oceans, Greenpeace and the Environmental Justice Foundation have been carrying out a joint investigation in West Africa during which over 100 vessels were documented. The evidence gathered suggests that almost half the boats observed were engaged in, or linked to illegal fishing activities.

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