Saturday, 2nd June 2018
It was the first time that I drove across train tracks. This unassuming set of train tracks seemed to mark the beginning of an adventure. In the car with me were Fang Hui and Abi who were equally excited as I was. Just 200 metres ahead, we finally arrived at our destination: Kompleks Dato’ Shaari Jihin.
What were we doing all the way at Port Klang?
#PowerShiftMsia was invited by Greenpeace Malaysia to check out their Rainbow Warrior ship. ‘The Ship’ is currently on a tour around Southeast Asia for the purposes of environmental campaigns and scientific excursions.
We registered ourselves and got a badge as well as a red ‘G’ stamp on our hands. Then, we waited for the rest to arrive.
The rest of the gang has arrived! We proudly displayed our banner that Thomas brought to let people know that #PowerShiftMsia was here. After all of us had registered, we waited for our slot scheduled at 3pm.
We realised that things might not go as planned. Our group was assigned as batch #29 and we were told to wait. It turned out that there were more people than what the organisers expected so they couldn’t quite handle the overwhelming response.
Each round of the tour was meant to take up 20 people and the tour would last for 30 minutes, including the short boat ride to The Ship. But there were hundreds of people and only limited time and capacity. So you can imagine why the organisers were a bit kelam-kabut.
We killed the time by checking out the booths that were there as part of the Green Lifestyle Fair. I checked out the Greenpeace booth where there was an e-waste collection box. Prior to this event, I was informed that I could send any broken gadgets. Coincidentally, I had 2 sets of broken iPhone chargers so I brought them along with me.
I chatted with a volunteer there who sounded really good at persuading people to register immediately to be a member of Greenpeace Malaysia that would cost RM35 a month for the purposes of funding research, e-waste collection boxes that would be placed in public places, and their other activities. For personal reasons, I did not register.
I then rejoined the rest of the group and waited under the tent.
For some miracle that was Emily (who played the role of mum to us kids), we were (finally!) allowed in earlier than expected. I suppose the event coordinator had come to their senses and decided to prioritise those who had pre-registered. So when the emcee called out “Power Shwift Malaysia” we happily walked (and skipped) and giggled towards the jetty.
At the jetty, we saw a white tent. And underneath that tent were people. Oh no, we thought, must we wait for another hour???
Apparently, yes. But at least we were already by the sea and we could see THE SHIP! Being Asians, we took numerous photos with The Ship that was about 200m away floating on the sea. We felt like school kids on a field trip. It was exciting.
Eventually we got tired of posing under the Sun so we took our seats under the tent. Somehow we formed an impromptu circle and started playing silly games led by Thomas and Shaqib. We were so serious and pretty loud that other people around us got curious. I even saw a father playing along with us and explaining the game to his child.
We were (FINALLY) called to board the transfer boat for a short ride to The Ship out at sea.
Once aboard The Ship (hurray!) we were greeted by Flo who works for Greenpeace Malaysia and hails from Germany. He named our team ‘Dinosaur’ after asking a boy in our group what his favourite animal was. He then brought us around the ship from the side, to the front, to the control room and finally to the stern of the ship while telling us about The Ship and its crew members.
Here’s what we found out about the Rainbow Warrior Ship:
- The purpose of The Ship was for campaigning, media relations and scientific research.
- The Ship is about 60 m in length and has a body height of 50 m. The masts are 58 m tall and are able to hold 1255 sq metres of sails. The use of sails helps to reduce the dependency on fuel.
- There is a control room where there are curious-looking buttons and screens with maps operated through satellite.
- The first Rainbow Warrior was sunk in 1985 by French secret service. They bombed it while Greenpeace was protesting against nuclear testing in the Pacific. Greenpeace won the lawsuit against them later. The money they received allowed them to buy a second-hand ship. It was later donated to an NGO in Bangladesh as a floating hospital.
- Greenpeace then built a customized Rainbow Warrior 3 by themselves. It was completed in October 2011.
- The ship capacity is 30 men.
- There are currently 15 core team members working on the Rainbow Warrior.
- The second most important crew member after the captain is thought to be the chef.
- The crew members eat 5 vegetarian/vegan meals a week.
- Apparently, Malaysia does not really welcome NGOs. It was a complicated process to get the ship here according to Flo, a Greenpeace representative.
- Greenpeace sail is hydraulic. Literally everything is automated here.
- One does not need to have a certificate to volunteer with Rainbow Warrior. Greenpeace prefers those who are willing to volunteer for at least three months.
The tour ended and we took a group photo. Yeb Saño graced us with his presence, which was a delightful surprise. If you didn’t know already, Yeb Saño is Greenpeace South East Asian Executive Director and he played a prominent role in the annual UNFCCC climate conference, COP19. To most of us, it was a starstruck moment meeting a climate change hero!
We safely arrived back on land with new insight to the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior. It was definitely a trip to remember as we not only got to tour The Ship but through the long wait, we had actually bonded as a team.
Thank you, Greenpeace for inviting #PowerShiftMsia to the Rainbow Warrior!
Read more about the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior here.
Written by Diyana Rahim
Pictures by Diyana, Jolene & Adrian