On Friday October 17th 2008 the Galapagos National Park service added a new vessel to its fleet, the floating base station Tiburon Martillo. For this a special ceremony was held at the docks of the National Park headquarters. At the ceremony all the NGO's that provided financial support and the people that worked to get this project off the ground were present.
The Tiburon Martillo will be towed up to Wolf Island in the North of the Archipelago where it will be permanently moored. From this floating base station the Park will be conducting well needed patrols to stop the poaching that is taking place in this part of the Galapagos National Park. Costa Rican long liners have been repeatedly caught around Wolf and Darwin Island with sharks and shark fins in their holds.
Not only will the platform be used as a base station for the National Park Rangers, it will also serve as a base for scientific research.
The use of a base station in the North of the Galapagos was first suggested in 2001. It has taken a long time to get the vessel operational, getting the money, required permits and crew but finally the Tiburon Martillo will provide the required permanent enforcement.
Sea Shepherd Galapagos is hiring two local marine engineers to complete the crew of the Tiburon Martillo. We were asked by the new Director of the National Park Edgar Munoz if we would be willing to provide support for this. Of course we accepted as Sea Shepherd believes that this is a huge step forward in the conservation of the Galapagos Marina Park. It will significantly lower the amounts of sharks being killed within the Galapagos.
Also on this maiden voyage will be Sea Shepherd volunteer Tod Emko from New York City who has been invaluable in the Galapagos office as well as helping the Animal Balance campaign that was conducted recently. Tod has already shown his value for this first trip by fixing the Satellite phone of the Tiburon Martillo without which the departure could have been postponed. Tod will be documenting this historic voyage as well as getting information that is aimed to improve the communication between the heart of the National Park (Santa Cruz Island where the headquarters of the Park service is located) and the North. Sea Shepherd volunteers will be allowed to accompany the Rangers during the upcoming trips offering their skills where needed.
The Tiburon Martillo was made possible by donations from Conservation International, Ecoventura, Wildaid, WWF and Sea Shepherd. The Tiburon Martillo was donated by Peter Witmer, owner of the Aggressor fleet. Key people involved were Godfrey Merlen and the Rangers of the National Park of Galapagos.
Captain Paul Watson is elated to see this idea finally become a reality. As far back as 2000, Captain Watson expressed to then National Park Director Eliecer Cruz that a permanent station at Wolf and Darwin was essential to curtailing poachers. Sea Shepherd is proud to be associated with this project and predicts that this united effort will significantly reduce shark mortality in the Galapagos.
The Tiburon Martillo
Sea Shepherd Volunteer Tod Emko, Captain Rene Freire of the Sea Mar 2
(one of the launches of the Tiburon Martillo), engineer Colon Jimenez
and Sea Shepherd Galapagos director Alex Cornelissen
Costa Rican long liner with Sirenian
Costa Rican long liner that was caught inside the National Park by the crew
of the Farley Mowat and handed over to the Park service in 2004
Godfrey Merlen of WildAid, who got this project started in 2001
Owner of the Galapagos Aggressor fleet Peter Witmer
who donated the Tiburon Martillo to the National Park
Alex Cornelissen receiving the certificate of recognition from
Omar Garcia the Captain of the Guadalupe River
The certificate of recognition
Alex, Tod and Ricardo Visaira, our main contact within
the Galapagos National Park Marine Division
Alex, Godfrey Merlen and Tod
Map of Wolf Island