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All aboard...resort couple snap up old Greenpeace vessel

Greenpeace-schip

Greenpeace-schip "Sirius" - Amsterdam - 06-01-2013

For keen environmentalists everywhere it is something of an icon.

But when the former Greenpeace ship The Sirus was retired from duty in 1998, it was due to be consigned to the scrap yard.

Until a Blackpool couple decided to step in.

For David Oliver and fiancé Annie Shelmerdine, both 29, decided snapping up the vessel was too good an opportunity to miss.

The couple moved to Amsterdam in 2012 as part of 
David’s computer programming career.

Now owners of a hotel boat, a passenger ship called Avante, they heard news of The Sirius and felt destroying it would be a tragedy.

David said: “The ship is a huge mark in history for many reasons and when I heard they wanted to destroy it me and Annie pulled all our savings to buy it.”

The ship, which is docked in Amsterdam was sold by Greenpeace after her services were no-longer needed.

Built in the Netherlands in 1950 as one of seven pilot vessels, the ship was originally owned by the Royal Dutch Navy and sold to Greenpeace during 1981 while in dry dock.

It was refitted, repaired, and repainted. It took 10 whole weeks to paint the ship where the colour scheme was soon changed to a green hull and rainbow colours and a white dove of peace with an olive branch painted on the bow.

The couple now hopes to turn the ship into an eco-friendly community landmark by April next year.

“The Government seem to be behind us and we want to make it a serious attraction in Amsterdam,” David said.

“Seen as it had such a pivotal role in Greenpeace, they were very disheartened when they had to sell it and so we’re going to turn some of the rooms into exhibitions about the The Sirius’s time with Greenpeace.”

Former St Mary’s School pupil David is prepared for the huge task ahead. He hopes to build an eco-garden on the top deck and create cabin space for local schools to use for classes and community projects.

“It’s a work in progress 
really, we’re still going through different avenues of investors. We’re building it for the community and hope to raise money through crowd funding campaigns social funding.”

A spokesman from Greenpeace in Holland said: “When we stopped our Dutch educational programme a few years ago, the Sirius also became out of use. At that moment she was not able to sail anymore and the investment to get -and keep- the old lady running was too big.

“Of course we are pleased with Sirius’ new destination. She will stay close to us in Amsterdam and close to the issue Greenpeace is campaigning for – a sustainable future.”

The couple are due to be married in Costa Rica next year and are determined to finish The Sirius project before then.

To help the pair in their mission visit and donate: www.indiegogo.com/projects/save-the-ex-greenpeace-ship-mv-sirius, or go to www.facebook.com/siriusamsterdam.

 

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