Coast KZN

18 Oct 2019

Greenpeace ship docks in SA and opens its doors to Capetonians

Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Picture: Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise is in Cape Town while on an expedition to create awareness of the importance of oceans. Fixerfilm

Cape Town – A Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, has docked at the V&A Waterfront while on its expedition to create awareness about the importance of the oceans and their protection. The ship, which will berth in Cape Town until Sunday, will provide a platform for deeper engagement and dialogue in understanding national climate and ocean issues. Thereafter, it will embark on a three-week voyage to Seamount Vema, 1600km from Tristan da Cunha and 1000km north-west of Cape Town.

Climate and Energy campaigner for Greenpeace Africa, Bukelwa Nzimande, said oceans faced a crisis from climate change, plastic, mining and overfishing, and these threats were growing bigger and more urgent every day.

“The threats faced by our oceans cause waves that affect the sustainability of life and our very ability to survive.

“The Arctic Sunrise docking in Cape Town is symbolic of the need for a larger commitment to protect the oceans and fight the climate crisis, and will further illustrate the rich and plentiful marine life in southern Africa.

“The Cape hosts unique and diverse ecosystems, which are a bountiful resource for fisheries and associated fishing communities, and all of them need to be protected,” Nzimande said.

“Over the past few months, we have been collecting stories of hope, joy and defiance from around the world. We are in Cape Town to collect and share more of these stories, and for us to work together to defend the oceans for all future generations,” she said. The ship recently stopped in Dakar, Senegal to create a platform for political engagement about overfishing in the region.

The Arctic Sunrise, with other ships in the fleet, is contributing to Greenpeace’s Pole-to-Pole ship tour, the aim of which is to rally support for a Global Oceans Treaty, in which 30% of the world’s oceans will become protected under the UN by 2030.

The project is highlighting the effects of overfishing on local fishing communities in Kalk Bay, the connections between the climate crisis and the biodiversity breakdown in oceans, and providing a platform for political engagement on local ocean issues, building on those raised in Dakar.

“We will seek solutions to solving these issues in South African coastal areas, and engage key government stakeholders to ensure the government continues to have a progressive position in the Ocean Treaty negotiations, and publicly calls for and supports a strong and progressive global Ocean treaty,” said Nzimande.

In addition to political stakeholders, Nzimande said the Arctic Sunrise would engage African student groups regarding the supercharging of the African Climate Strike movement. She said the ship would also host local communities affected by industrial overfishing and climate effects at a storytelling event, and would be open to the public all day on Saturday and Sunday.