Saturday, May 24, 2008

So we wait again....

I wanted to write for this blog last night but our night turned into dawn because of developments near the port of the Pagbilao Coal Plant where the Rainbow Warrior is anchored.

Company representatives came onboard and asked to talk to us about their operations. As we were ending the discussion, the plant manager (who said his name was irrelevant to the conversation when I asked his name) told the Captain something like, "A wise man understands the law" but the Captain retorted with a one-two punch (figuratively) and with a smile said, "And an ignorant man hides behind them". Applause!!!!! As we know not all laws are fair that is why we are advocates. We find something wrong in the law, that's why we work to change them. We thought that was the end of it for the day.

Then, at 10 PM last night, the Coast Guards arrived asking the Captain to receive a letter saying the Warrior was violating Philippine laws by anchoring near the port and that we could be removed and arrested if we don't move the ship.

We are still here and we are now on our second day in Pagbilao. This morning, we were able to paint a ship on anchor outside the Pagbilao port carrying coal with the message "Quit Coal". It's late afternoon and we're still waiting... Waiting for government to respond to our demands that (1) there should be no more construction or expansion of coal plants in the country; (2) increase investments in renewable energy; and (3) inclusion of CO2 emissions in the EIA system.

So we wait again....

-Beau Baconguis

"positive energy"

Today our activists painted the 'Sam John Spirit', a second coal carrier waiting to come in and offload its polluting cargo. They painted QUIT COAL QUIT COAL QUIT COAL QUIT COAL, in large white letters, all the way down the 223 metre long starboard side. I was able to read it from our anchor position, where we are still blockading the 'Medi Firenze', 3 miles away. But the most amazing thing happened some hours later.

I had just finished lunch when Kristin looked up through the porthole and exclaimed "we're moving". Sure enough, the stern of the Rainbow Warrior was swinging rapidly towards the Medi Firenze. I left my dirty plate on the mess-room table and ran up to the bridge, the rest of the crew close on my heels. The Power Station launch was pushing as hard as it could on our port bow, trying to displace our anchor array - this was causing us to swing. As luck would have the wind was on our side and I called out to Dan, who was sighting the lie of the anchor chain on the bow, "set the jib". Whilst Dan made the preventer rope fast, Sarah took the yellow remote controls and unfurled the sail, and the wind filled it. The security launch had no chance. And then, an angel must have passed us by, everyone on deck was looking up at the jib, at its design of green wind turbines. "There we go Sarah", I called out, "positive energy", and the entire ship broke into spontaneous applause. The Power Station launch was being pushed backwards by wind filling the sail.

- Captain Mike Fincken

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Quit Coal - Save the Climate

Hello. My name is Beau and I'm the campaigner on board the Rainbow Warrior for the Philippine leg of the Quit Coal, Save the Climate Tour. Our first day on the Rainbow Warrior began with the crew waking up really early to prepare to dock at the Legaspi port from anchorage in the Albay Gulf. For someone who does not know much about ships, it looked like a complex maneuver in order to squeeze in between two boats was needed because the port was quite small. But Captain Mike and his crew made it look so easy and we had landed in no time.

We kicked off the tour with a press conference onboard. Captain Mike charmed the press with stories of how we work with the Rainbow Warrior and other Greenpeace ships. He spoke of SAILING into Philippine waters all the way from New Zealand. Our Executive Director, Von and Climate Campaigner Jasper talked animatedly about our campaign to push for renewable energy while phasing out coal.

The highlight for the day was the declaration of Vice Governor Brando Sael of Albay Province (on behalf of Governor Joey Salceda) that Albay Province would be a Coal-Free Zone. We were very pleased because this meant, zero toxics from coal facilities for the people of Albay, less CO2 emissions going out into the atmosphere. Equally important is the signal that they send to the national government that the environmental, economic and social costs with coal is just too high that investing in coal is just not worth it. The people of Albay feel strongly about this because they know what it is like to be hammered by typhoons year in, year out.

Mabuhay to the people of Albay for this courageous deed!!!