Ocean Rebellion Campaigners Launch Protest Against Luxury Cruise Liner

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Climate resistance group Ocean Rebellion, an ally of Extinction Rebellion, has launched a protest projecting messages onto the hull of a luxury cruise vessel in Falmouth, Cornwall in the United Kingdom. The protest aims to raise awareness and highlight the environmental devastation caused by the cruise industry. 

Described as the “sea-faring sister” of climate action organisation Extinction Rebellion, campaigners from Ocean Rebellion has launched its first action that uses guerilla-style advertising tactics to project videos, slogans and messages on the hull of “The World”, a 196-metre luxury ocean liner that has been converted into what is self-described as the world’s biggest private residential ship. 

Cruisers docking the massive ship, docked in Falmouth, are said to enjoy the “pinnacle of luxury” as it travels across the world and pollutes the ocean, destroys marine life, creating enormous amounts of waste and spewing out thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions that drive the climate crisis

A three-bedroom apartment on the “The World” yacht is priced at a reported US$2 million to US$15 million in 2017.

In addition to destroying our planet with its long history of ethical and environmental violations, from illegal ocean pollution to exploitation, the cruise industry has been engulfed in an existential crisis in the past months amid the pandemic as cruise ships become hotbeds of coronavirus outbreaks, endangering the lives of its crew members and “unlucky” holidaymakers. 

Read: Opinion – coronavirus has given us the chance to ditch cruises for good, so let’s take it

The cruise at the centre of this latest protest in Cornwall has no residents currently on board due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

What we were doing is entirely legal. My motive is to raise awareness out there, to get people talking. I didn’t know how polluting the cruise industry is, but I do now. We need systemic change in shipping.

Rob Higgs, member of Ocean Rebellion

Ocean Rebellion plans to continue using a series of disruptive and non-violent protest techniques to shed light on biodiversity loss, overfishing, deep-sea mining and the impact of the climate crisis on our oceans. While it is born out of the Extinction Rebellion movement, organisers of Ocean Rebellion have emphasised that it does not use arrest as a means of protest. 

“What we were doing is entirely legal,” said Rob Higgs, a member of the group, in conversation with the Guardian. “My motive is to raise awareness out there, to get people talking. I didn’t know how polluting the cruise industry is, but I do now. We need systemic change in shipping.”

Looking ahead, Ocean Rebellion will work with other marine conservation nonprofits, including Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace, to amplify awareness of ocean destruction, curb the drivers of ocean temperature warming, sea-level rise and acidification by 2025 and to urge global concerted action to protect the seas. 

The oceans are the lungs of the world, it creates our weather and life on the planet began there. And yet many of us have a real disconnect from it now. I feel it’s so important to create and participate in actions like these to raise awareness and to engage people in a wider conversation about the seas and our future.

Sophie Miller, member of Extinction Rebellion Falmouth

The oceans are the lungs of the world, it creates our weather and life on the planet began there. And yet many of us have a real disconnect from it now,” said Sophie Miller, a member of Extinction Rebellion Falmouth. 

“I feel it’s so important to create and participate in actions like these to raise awareness and to engage people in a wider conversation about the seas and our future. With the melting of the Greenland ice shelf and the fact we are currently on track to significantly overshoot 1.5 degrees of warming, this is more important than ever.” 


Lead image courtesy of Guy Reece via Cornwall Live. 

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