Last night I awoke from my rambling slumber to the sound of alarms going off, a high-pitched tone, piercing the darkness in the middle of the night. It was nothing major, just the engineers alarm, so I went back to sleep. A couple of hours later it goes off again and I hear my cabin mate swearing in the darkness as he goes off to inspect what ever it is he’s being warned about a second time.
At 7.30am our daily wake up call rouses us like clockwork, routine is our daily bread and we eat it up eternally. I get up and go out on deck to inspect the day. As per usual, I’m greeted once again by a seemingly endless expanse of blue, an army of waves marching in chaotic order across thousands of miles of ocean.
It’s been days since we last saw land. We are heading out and around the Chagos Archipelago, home to the worlds largest marine reserve, created under somewhat dubious circumstances by the British and also home to an American Military base. The local people have been forcibly removed and displaced in the name of ‘Western Security’ and are fighting for their return. Keep in mind that your freedom comes at the expense of some one else’s.
We are also getting into pirate country now. We are on constant standby alert, ready to execute emergency procedures at a moments notice. Pirates are not people you want to meet on the high seas. We all have childhood visions of swash buckling, loveable rouges brandishing cutlasses and swigging on 40oz bottles of rum but these days pirates in this region have high-speed boats, carry AK-47’s and rocket launchers. We have taken many precautions to minimize the likelihood of coming across any and the chances are very low but this does not mean we can afford to be complacent in our attitude.
We have come across pirates in some form though, pirate fisherman that is. Fishing boats that prowl the borders of other countries Exclusive Economic Zones and plunder the high seas without restraint or regard for the long-term management of fisheries for the future. They take everything and that’s why Greenpeace is in the Indian Ocean.
This voyage is a look, listen and learn expedition. We are here to talk with government officials, NGO’s and fisherman. To hear their concerns, excuses, plans etc from small-scale local operations all the way up to the big multi-national industrial scale ones. Read more: