Plutonium shipment update Charleston, USA
Mon, 20 Sep 2004 03:06:18 -0400
This morning at 0100 hrs eastern standard time USA, one of the PNTL
ships arrived in Charleston harbour. Due to the fact that it was (and still is) a
very dark night we were unable to see the name of the ship so do not know
if it was the Pintail or the Teal. We assume that the other is sitting off at the
12 mile limit.
An escort of 5 inflatables met the vessel as it entered the bay. Closer to the
citry 4 police boats joined in. There were also 2 helicopters.
Police closed down access points to the Cooper river (the naval nuclear
weapons station where the Plutonium will be loaded is on the Cooper river).
We know this because we headed for our lookout point along the river but
as soon as we arrived there we were met by two police cars and told to
leave. They also closed down at least one bridge - the main one on highway
526. Tom and myself got across it just before it was closed.
As we do not know how long it will take the plutonium we have called for
people to meet up at 0500 hrs at the Charleston Waterfront Park where we
will stay until the shipment departs or until we are removed.
This was the 'mini flotilla' day. Approximately 30 canoes and 4 yachts sailed around Cherbourg harbour with the canoes forming a 'peace' symbol after a number of attempts. This was made difficult by the weather conditions and so the symbol lasted for only a very short time.
Members of the public gathered on the quayside to view the mini flotilla. Many from Cherbourg (an area quite hostile to Greenpeace as the nuclear industry supplies most of the areas jobs) were happy to see greenpeace and other anti nuclear activists involved in something other than protest. Most viewed the flotilla launch as a parade of yachts and canoes and saw it as a fun day out.
There was also much media around. We will have to wait a few days to see the extent of the coverage.
There were a number of special guests/supporters involved including Alan Conan (former Greenpeace skipper), Eugune Riguidel (a very famous French yacht racer) and Joe Le Guen (rowed the Pacific and a wellknown activist). A member of the regional government also came to show his support as did two members of Cherbourg town council.
A couple more skippers came along to say that they would be interested in becoming part of the Flotilla.
The day continued with a concert. There was music and speeches from 1830 until 0100 Sunday morning. Speeches were by Yannick Rousselet (Greenpeace France), Phillip Marechal (Skipper Akela), Eugene Riguidel, Alan Conan, Neil McCann (from the Irish Sea Flotilla) and John Bowler (Greenpeace International). The concert was attended by about 600 people. A message of support for the flotilla from Jim Corr (currently on tour in the USA with the band) was read out from the stage.
Today, Sunday 22 August, it is expected that approximately 15 Flotilla boats will sail in Brest to show solidarity and support for the Flotilla. These were unable to come to Cherbourg for yesterday.
July 19th to 22nd - Saint Malo
We are in Saint-Malo. Numerous contacts established throughout the town there. Flotilla Flags are now flying on Karine Fauconnier trimaran, who is the winner of the transatlantic race, but also flying on the Sodebo and on Soldini ones. We did establish contact with Eug?ne Riguidel, whi should come to visit us, as well. Nice press cuts in the French regional newspaper Ouest France and a nice program also on TV Breizh. The communication and press work are getting better in this very warm welcoming town where we already met numerous amateur sailors, old riggings and professionnals. We expect much of our promising stop in Saint-Malo. On July, 22nd, we had an additionnal registration as member of the fotilla : Aurora De Fite De Garies and her ship Rori, a 9m35 yacht. This leads us to 8 members in total and we are still waiting for more...
July 12th to 18th - Dunkerque > Dieppe to Cherbourg to Saint Malo
We finally left Dunkerque to go to Dieppe and then to Cherbourg where we were welcomed by Yannick Rousselet and C?dric with whoim we decided to modify our Tour plans with much shorter stops.Then, on July, 16th , we left to Saint-Malo via Guernesey to arrive there on July, 18th, the day before the arrival of the Qu?bec-Saint-Malo Transatlantic race competitors.
July 7th to 12th - Dunkerque to Dunkerque
While on our way to Cherbourg from Dunkerque, we lost our propeller right in the channel. Then, we had to go back to Dunkerque harbour by our own means and with the support of our friends there. The next day, we learnt that, because they saw us tacking there, a full loaded nuclear waste ship in their way to Dunkerque decided to stop their way before arriving there...
A new crew member, Silou arrived then with two divers, Lulu and Bernard, who helped us replacing the propeller and decided to stay on board the Akela. We would like to thank Dani?le, Guillaume, Pascal, Myriam, Colette, R?gis, The Luciflot crew members, The Nautilosh Association, The Grand Large Harbour and all the Dunkerque inhabitants for their care, their warm welcome and the numerous things they did for us all. And be sure we will come back soon...And Thanks to Bernard, our rescue diver, who participates in the nice atmosphere on board ...
July 5th to 7th - Dunkerque
The local Greenpeace active members reserved a warm welcome to our crew. We quickly went through the town and have established contact with numerous local associations and sailing clubs. Our stay there began with the "traditionnal" Press Conference with France3, Europe2, DeltaFM, La Voix du Nord being there and who will relay the news of our presence in the harbour in Dunkerque.
We also had the pleasure to welcome on board the French Affaires Maritimes so as to make a complete chek of the Akela. Why not? It was a good thing on our way...
July,4th to 5th - Le Havre to Dunkerque
Actually we left Le Havre Harbour around 5 am with nice sea and weather conditions. Unfortunately, by midday, the rain was quickly with us and the wind was nothing but a souvenir...Indeed, it only came back by midnight. Then, our speed is of 10 knots and we arrived in Dunkerque Harbour around 9 am. During the night and in the morning, we sailed off the coasts of nuclera power plants of Penly and Gravelines, blackish stains on the Coast... Our anti-nuclear flags proudly flying in front of these reactors' domes.
July, 3rd - Le Havre
This morning, the OM (Marseille Team) Bresilian professionnal football player Rudi came to visit us. A new crew member joined the team on bord this morning too. And we'll be on our way to Dunkerque during the night.
July, 3rd - Le Havre
Nathalie, a new crew member, came on board the Akela this morning. We've decided to leave tonight to be in Dunkerque tomorrow...
July, 2nd - Le Havre
This morning, the Akela was visited by a sailing school young trainee team. Another skipper, a Belgian lawyer came also to join the Flotilla. The weather is still fickle and we hope we'll be able to leave Le Havre harbour tomorrow or Saturday night to go to our next stage: Dunkerque.
July, 1st - Le Havre
The local media (Radio R?sonnance - France Bleue Normandie - Le Havre-Presse - Paris-Normandie - Havre-Libre) did well echo our presence in Le Havre with radio interviews, front page photographs and nice press cuts in the regional local press. We also received two more Skipper involvment files, bringing the number of ships in the Atlantic Flotilla ( Flottille Atlantique ) to 6 !
June, 30th - Le Havre - Press Conference - Stand
We put up an information stand by the entrance of the marina and Le Havre people are very receptive to it and encouraged us to go on with our efforts within the Nuclera Free Flotilla movement. The press conference was held in a pub called "Au Bon retour" at 2:30 a.m and some interested journalists came to assist it. Also two policemen from the police shipping unit, here to note carefully every detailed information regarding road and maritime plutonium transports we were giving to the public, as well as our plans for the coming Akela Tour as part of the Atlantic Nuclera Free Flotilla.
June, 29th - Cherbourg to Le Havre
5 :00 am, departure from Cherbourg to the French Harbour of Le Havre. Not much favourable wind in the morning, but a light breeze helped us up to destination where we arrived at 9:00 pm. The whole crew took a real pleasure on this first stage of the tour. A press conference will be held on Wednesday, 30 - 2 :30 pm in Le Havre Marina.
June, 28th - Cherbourg
The AKELA finally ready to sail, we left the Bassin du Commerce by the end of the day... and we'll be leaving at dawn towards Le Havre.
June, 22 to 27th - Cherbourg
We moved the Akela to the heart of the town, in a " Bassin du Commerce ". We'll spend the week to prep the ship and materials we'll be needing on board the Akela to start our Tour on French Normandy and Britany Coasts.
The AKELA, Greenpeace boat in the Atlantic Nuclear Free Flotilla, now is in The famous organozation's colours : with a rainbow on the hull, anti-nuclear flags on the masts.
We red nice press cuts regarding the Flotilla Launch in "Ouest France" and "La Presse de la Manche" at the beginning of the week. We already have contacts with skippers and up to now, two boats, ZOMBI et SORELIA, have joined the Flotilla movement. Other skipper should send their files to join the Flotilla within few days...For more information on The Atlantic Flotilla - France- crew and boats : Infos sur les bateaux de la Flottille
June, 21 to 22nd - Cherbourg
The regional France 3 news broadcasted a long television report on the Atlantic Nuclear Free Flotilla Launch. We hope and expect that tomorrow morning newspapers will also give people the opportunity to be aware that this Flotilla does exist.
The crew took advantage of the Music Festival in Cherbourg to go for a useful talk in town. Passing in front of the Local group office in cherbourg, we saw a band playing music just in front of it, with two posters of the Flotilla setting the scene.
June, 21st 2004 - Cherbourg
Press Con ference - Atlantic Flotilla Launch
From St Malo, the AKELA arrived in Cherbourg Harbour around 2 :30 pm, shortly before the Press Conference held in Chantereyne Harbour Yacht Club.
Three crew members, Stan, Fred and PierreM joined Philippe Mar?chal, Skipper The Akela and hoisted anti-nuclear colours on the first Atlantic Nuclear Free Flotilla boat in France.
Many journalists came to be at the Flotilla Launch (France 2, France 3, Ouest France, Presse de la Manche, France Bleue, Le Parisien, AFP,...)
Should be noted also the presence of the French shipping police unit and that of RG - the Branch of the French police force dealing with political security...