After my own cruise around Britain, it is some suprise to see the MV Esperanza ship operated by Greenpeace in West India Dock. The ship was originally a fire-fighter ship owned by the Soviet Navy, built in 1984 in Poland. It was recommissioned in 2000 and launched in 2002 after being named Esperanza (‘hope’ in Spanish) by visitors to the Greenpeace website.
The ship has undergone a major refit by Greenpeace to make it more environmentally friendly and has a helicopter deck and boat cranes. The ship is considered a heavy ice class which means it can be used in polar regions.
The ship is quite high tech with live webcams and state-of-the-art underwater monitoring equipment, including a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) which can shoot video down to a depth of 300 m, and a camera capable of reaching depths of 1,000 m.
It has already been involved in many campaigns, but is in London to launch one of Greenpeace’s biggest ever expeditions – an almost year-long pole to pole voyage from the Arctic to the Antarctic – to highlight the many threats facing the oceans and to campaign for a Global Ocean Treaty covering all seas outside of national waters.
The Esperanza is in London this week ahead of the expedition and has been the focus of a number of events which features a multidisciplinary team of climate scientists and marine biologists.
The Esperanza is not the first Greenpeace ship to visit West India Dock, MV Arctic Sunrise visited in 2013 before being taken over by Russian authorities during an oil campaign.