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May 26, 2008

The Yellow RIB

BY: Keith Ellenbogen


©OCEANA/ Keith Ellenbogen


This morning was filled with excitement as we tested both of Oceana’s RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) for maneuverability to document legal and illegal bluefin tuna fishing boats in the Mediterranean. At 9am the crew of the Marviva Med lowered the 18ft yellow boat using a crane into the relatively calm ocean.

Captaining the boat was Oceana logistics coordinator Carlos Perez a veteran with over twenty years experience quickly maneuvering boats near fishing vessels for image-makers that could not otherwise be acquired. The zodiac expedition crew also consisted of photographer Keith Ellenbogen and videographer Enrique Talledo. Before departing the mother-ship Oceana’s expedition leader Xavier Pastor shouted “Buena suerte!” and off we went. While Carlos was testing this boats capabilities and communication equipment Keith and Enrique practiced steadying lens, focusing and keeping the camera dry from the spray of the ocean while Carlos speed through the waters. On this test run around Formentera Island, Spain no fishing boats were encountered.

Ibiza island

In the afternoon the Marviva/Oceana research vessel sailed about one hour to anchor off the coast of Ibiza Island, Spain to pick-up some communication equipment and parts. From Oceana’s observation deck as well as the use of the zodiac into Ibiza’s marina we took pictures of the coastline and surveyed the waters identifying the following French tuna purseiners going into the harbour: “Gerald Jean IV” MA-916469, Marseille; “Gerald Jean III”, Port Vendres PV 916344; “Gerard Luc III” ST 669329; “Gerard Luc IV” ST 900236. A bit later, sharp at 6 pm, half a dozen bottom trawlers registered in Valencian harbours also entered the port of Ibiza, their temporary base.