The Arctic Sunrise, one ship in the Greenpeace fleet, will dock at the V&A Waterfront on 17 October. The ship will berth in Cape Town until 20 October, after which it will embark on a three-week voyage to Seamount Vema. The expedition aims to document local biodiversity and to recover the abandoned fishing gear that threatens it.
Bukelwa Nzimande, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Africa, said: “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 bountiful resource for fisheries and associated fishing communities, and all of them need to be protected.”
The ship recently stopped in Dakar, Senegal to create a platform for political engagement around overfishing in the region. Overfishing has taken a harsh toll on Senegalese fishing communities. Often, artisanal fishermen have been forced further and further out to sea to fish while fish populations suffer and dwindle due to overfishing. As a result, many of them are indefinitely lost at sea.
The Arctic Sunrise, along with other ships in the fleet, is contributing to Greenpeace’s Pole-to-Pole ship tour, aimed at rallying support for a Global Oceans Treaty which will see 30% of the world’s oceans become protected by 2030 under the UN. Locally, the project is highlighting the impacts of overfishing on local fishing communities in Kalk Bay, highlighting the connections between the climate crisis and the biodiversity breakdown in our oceans and providing a platform for political engagement on local ocean issues, building on issues raised in the Dakar stop of the ship tour.
“During its time in Cape Town, the Arctic Sunrise will provide a platform for deeper engagement and dialogue in understanding national climate and ocean issues in more personal ways. We will seek solutions to solving these issues in South African coastal areas, and engage with key government stakeholders to ensure the South African 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,” ended Nzimande.
In addition to political stakeholders, the Arctic Sunrise will engage with African student groups around the supercharging the African Climate Strike movement. The ship will also host local communities impacted by industrial overfishing and climate impacts at a storytelling event. The ship will be open to the public all day on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 November.